AMERKS PREVAIL IN OVERTIME AGAIN TO COMPLETE FIRST-ROUND SWEEP OF BELLEVILLE

May 6, 2022

For the first time in 17 years, the Rochester Americans (2-0) are moving onto the second round of the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup Playoffs after completing their first-round sweep of the Belleville Senators (0-2) in a repeat performance. following a 4-3 overtime win in Game 2 Friday at CAA Arena.

GAME SUMMARY PHOTO GALLERY

The Amerks needed overtime for the second straight game – the first time since Games 1 and 2 of their 2001 first-round series against Philadelphia that went beyond regulation in back-to-back games – this time withstanding a late push from the Senators, in duplicating the effort from Wednesday and winning their first playoff series since the 2005 postseason.

Arttu Ruotsalainen, whose overtime heroics sealed the win in Game 1, was an unstoppable force tonight for the Amerks, scoring twice and adding two primary assists to factor in on all four Rochester goals. He would finish the series with five points (3 + 2) in two games.

Mark Jankowski netted his first of the postseason while Brett Murraywho assisted on Ruotsalainen’s game-winner on Wednesday, delivered the series-clinching goal with 17:39 gone in overtime from Ruotsalainen.

Sean Malone assisted on two goals while Casey Fitzgerald, Jimmy Schuldt and Peyton Krebs all notched assists in the win. Goaltender Aaron Dell continued his dominance over Belleville, stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced to improve to 5-0-0 over five combined appearances opposite the Senators between the regular season and playoffs.

After squandering a 3-0 lead in their Game 1 loss, the Senators nearly flipped the script on the Amerks, crafting a third-period comeback of their own in Game 2, forcing overtime on third-period goals by Andrew Agozzino and Roby Jarventie. Zac Leslie scored Belleville’s other goal while Filip Gustavsson stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced from Rochester.

Nine seconds into its first power-play of a scoreless game, Rochester quickly capitalized to take a 1-0 lead at the 6:47 mark of the first period.

With the draw to the left of the offensive zone, Malone won the face-off back to Krebs at the left point. As Krebs slid a centering pass back to Malone at the top of the blueline, the Buffalo native patiently waited before laying a perfect one-time feed in the right face-off dot for Ruotsalainen to blast home for his first of two on the night.

The power-play tally was the Amerks first of the postseason and Ruotsalainen’s second after the Finnish forward scored the overtime-winner in Game 1 on Wednesday night.

After carrying the one-goal advantage into the intermission break, the Amerks doubled the lead 5:41 into the middle period.

Jankowski took the face-off to the right of Gustavsson, but the puck made its way outside the zone and in-front of the player bench. Ruotsalainen gathered the puck and flipped it inside the blueline. A Senators skater attempted to control the puck, however, he was unsuccessful, and Jankowski stole it before roofing a shot over the glove of the netminder.

Later in the frame, Belleville cut the two-goal deficit in half as Leslie fired in a loose rebound past the right pad of Dell from Chartier and Greig.

Less than two minutes after Leslie’s tally, Ruotsalainen restored Rochester’s cushion as he skated into the offensive zone alongside Murray.

Ruotsalainen sprung into the zone after receiving an outlet pass from Fitzgerald and Malone. Prior to wiring his third goal of the postseason, the Finnish forward weaved his way around a pair of Belleville skaters with 4:12 left in the middle stanza.

Facing a 3-1 deficit to start the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Senators came out and outshot the Amerks 8-0 in the first half of the period.

In addition to holding Rochester without a shot, Belleville evened the score at 3-3 as they tallied a pair of markers 5:19 apart from Agozzino and Jarventie, the second of which came on the strength of a 5-on-3 two- man advantage.

Following Jarventie’s power-play goal, the two clubs limited each other’s chances and overtime was required for the second straight contest.

As Ruotsalainen darted his way through the Belleville defense, he attempted to pull the puck through his legs in an effort to evade the poke check of a Senators defenseman. The puck made its way to Murray, who was attacking on the right side, and he snapped a shot inside the right post past an unsuspecting Gustavsson to seal the 4-3 win and send the Amerks to the second round for the first time in 17 years.

Rochester will meet the Utica Comets in the AHL North Division Semifinals, a best-of-five series slated to get underway in Utica on Tuesday, May 10 with Game 1 at Adirondack Bank Center. Rochester will host Game 3 on Sunday, May 15, and if necessary, Game 4 on Tuesday, May 17 at The Blue Cross Arena.

BELLEVILLE

GAMECENTER

ROCHESTER

Leslie (1), Agozzino (1),

Jarventie (1)

GOAL-SCORERS

Ruotsalainen (2, 3), Jankowski (1), Murray (1 – OT GWG)

Gustavsson – 28/32 (L)

GOALTENDERS

Dell – 34/37 (W)

3-4

POWER-PLAY

1-4

1-4

PENALTY KILL

3-4

37

SHOTS ON GOAL

30

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