Criscuolo leads Amerks to 4-3 comeback win in OT
(Belleville, Ontario) – For the 19th time through 45 games this season, the Rochester Americans (25-10-5-5) played in a game that went beyond regulation to determine an outcome. Saturday night’s contest at Yardmen Arena against the Belleville Senators (18-24-1-3) needed only 22 seconds of extra hockey before Kyle Criscuolo sealed the Amerks’ 4-3 come-from-behind victory to conclude a season-long five-game road swing going into the league’s All-Star break.
With the win, Rochester notched its 25th victory of the campaign through 45 games this season. The Amerks also improved to 14-3-5-3 in 25 games away from The Blue Cross Arena and have earned points in 31 of their last 37 games dating back to Nov. 1.
Criscuolo bagged his seventh multi-point effort of the campaign as he scored a pair of goals and had a game-high eight shots for the Amerks while Taylor Fedun and Eric Cornel rounded out the scoring. Adam Wilcox made 21 saves to improve to 8-3-4 on the season and shows a 7-1-2 mark in his last 10 contests.
Gabriel Gagne scored his team-leading 15th of season and picked up an assist while Ben Harper recorded a pair of helpers for Belleville, which suffered its first loss in overtime on home ice. Nick Paul and Jim O’Brien capped off the scoring while Danny Taylor dropped his third straight decision against the Amerks this season.
As the two North Division rivals emerged from the second intermission break, they each had a pair of goals while Rochester carried a 28-19 shot-advantage to begin the final stanza. However, O’Brien broke the 2-2 game just 34 seconds into the third period as he buried his 11th of the campaign.
Facing another one-goal deficit later in the period, the Amerks kept pressing and Cornel lit the lamp with 2:40 left in the contest to force the overtime period.
Rookie forward Sean Malone received a breakout-pass from Matt Tennyson near the center logo and drifted to his left as he entered the Senators zone. The Buffalo native fired a shot off the left pad of Taylor and the puck caromed to Cornel, who swept it into the cage for his fifth of the season and tied the game at 3-3.
Rochester was awarded its seventh power-play of the night with just 15 seconds left in the period but was unable to score before the horn sounded, thus resulting in the overtime period.
The Amerks had 1:45 of the carry-over penalty time and a four-on-three advantage to begin the extra stanza but only needed 22 seconds of the allotted five-minute frame as Criscuolo banged in his second of the night to seal the 4-3 victory.
The second-year pro was parked in front of Taylor and was set up by Seth Griffith and Zach Redmond for Rochester’s second power-play goal of the contest and the game’s fourth as the two teams combined to go 4-for-12 with the man-advantage.
With Rochester’s 4-3 victory, they improved to 3-0-2 in the eight-game season-series with the Senators.
The two teams each scored one goal during each period of regulation and began the extra frame tied at 3-3 before Criscuolo sealed win.
The Amerks return home to The Blue Cross following the AHL All-Star break Friday, Feb. 2 as they host the first-place Toronto Marlies for the fourth meeting of the season between the two North Division teams. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Criscuolo (11, 12 OT GWG), Fedun (2), Cornel (5)
BEL: Paul (3), Gagne (15), O’Brien (11)
RCH: Wilcox– 21/24 (W)
BEL: Taylor– 36/40 (OTL)
RCH: PP (2/7) | PK (3/5)
BEL: PP (2/5) | PK (5/7)