Fedun leads Amerks to 4-3 OT win
Rochester, NY – The Rochester Americans (23-32-0-2) overcame three separate one-goal deficits before Taylor Fedun’s overtime tally sealed the 4-3 win to snap the Amerks three-game losing streak against the surging Bridgeport Sound Tigers (35-18-1-1) in the final meeting of the head-to-head series Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena.
Newcomer Mat Bodie netted a pair of goals for his first two goals in an Amerks uniform. Fedun notched his fifth marker of the season to go along with two helpers for his fifth multi-point effort of the campaign. Kyle Bonis scored his seventh of the slate while Rochester netminder Linus Ullmark stopped 13 of the 16 shots he faced in what was his 15th start in the last 17 tilts. He improved his record on to 21-21-2.
Rochester outshot Bridgeport 44-16, including 18-6 in the second period, besting the 40 they accumulated back on Dec. 30 against Lehigh Valley.
Ryan Pulock collected his fifth multi-assist (0+2) game of the season while rookie forward Tanner Fritz recorded his fourth multi-point (0+2) effort in the last seven games for the Sound Tigers. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak took the loss despite making 40 saves. The 31-year-old boasts a 14-2-3 record on the season and is 13-1-1 since Jan. 20.
With the Amerks trailing 3-2 with less than six minutes left in regulation, the home club drew a pair of penalties for a five-on-three man advantage for 1:39. Unlike the night before, Rochester capitalized on the opportunity when Bodie blasted his second of the night from Cal O’Reilly, who was appearing in his 700th pro game, and Fedun to force overtime.
“Tonight on the power-play we had good puck movement,” said Bodie. “We caught a break when one of the defensemen broke a stick, and that helped open a lane and Cal was able to find me at the top of the point.”
After Bridgeport controlled the opening minute of the extra session, Fedun joined the rush for a three-on-two as he beat Halak for his fifth marker of the season and second game-winning goal just 1:12 into the frame.
“We had a really strong effort tonight,” Amerks head coach Dan Lambert said. “We competed and I thought our guys bought into the game plan which does involve competing and out-working the opposing team. Bridgeport is a good hockey team but I think we did a lot of things well to come out on top.”
The Sound Tigers opened the scoring only to have the Amerks tie the game less than three minutes later with Bodie’s first as an Amerk at the 6:57 mark of first period. Nearly midway through the frame, Bridgeport regained the lead and carried the 2-1 score into the intermission break.
Down by a tally to start the middle period, former Sound Tiger Justin Vaive picked up a loose puck at the center face-off circle and used an outlet pass that Bonis tracked down behind the Bridgeport defender. The forward fired a shot that Halak initially stopped, but the puck trickled across the goal line to even the score with 13:44 to play in the second. Vaive and Eric Cornel each got credit with the assists.
As in the first period, the Sound Tigers retook the lead with 21 seconds left in the stanza before Bodie knotted the score at 3-3 late in the third period with the second of the contest.
“I think tonight was one of our best 60-minute games of the season,” Fedun said. “Bodie and I had really good chemistry and he’s a heck of a player, so it made my night easier. The most important thing was we got the two points.”
The Amerks remain at home on Wednesday, March 8 when they take on the North Division rival Toronto Marlies in the third of a four-game homestand at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the final meeting between the two teams in Rochester before playing the final two games of the season series north of the border.
RCH: Bodie (9, 10), Bonis (7), Fedun (5 – GWG)
BRI: Winquist (11), Johnston (6), Dal Colle (12)
RCH: Ullmark – 13/16 (W)
BRI: Halak – 40/44 (OTL)
RCH: PP (1/5) / PK (2/3)
BRI: PP (1/3) / PK (4/5)