The AHL’s Rochester Americans took game one of their play-in series against the Belleville Senators on Wednesday night, rallying back from a 3-0 deficit to win in overtime.
The team’s big-name players certainly played a role. Peyton Krebs, recently back from a season with the Buffalo Sabres, recorded two assists. Casey Fitzgerald had a goal and an assist (and has been genuinely good since coming back to Rochester). Arttu Ruotsalainen scored the game-winning goal, and JJ Peterka notched two assists.
Wednesday’s game ended on a high note, but it certainly didn’t start on one. The Senators went up 1-0 just over six minutes in on their first-ever Calder Cup playoff goal by Cole Reinhardt - on their first shot of the night. Dillon Heatherington made it 2-0 late in the first, and the Amerks looked flat.
Rochester started off the second period better, with several chances early on. They nearly doubled their shot total in the first few minutes of the period, and Aaron Dell made several huge saves after a giveaway in their own end.
Just as things started to look up, however, Rourke Chartier made it 3-0. Then, what could have been a good chance for the Amerks was squashed when the officials blew the whistle just as Peterka was about to rip a shot on net, with Belleville goaltender Filip Gustavsson down.
It all turned around in the third period.
Lukas Rousek got Rochester on the board just over three minutes in:
As Belleville started to fall apart a bit, Jimmy Schuldt closed the gap with under seven to play:
HUGE GOAL BY JIMMY SCHULDT! Puts the Amerks within one with 6:38 to play. pic.twitter.com/Dnpr84ZNvQ— Die By The Blade (@diebytheblade) May 5, 2022
Krebs & Fitzgerald completed the comeback with this ridiculous toe drag:
Krebs with the pass to Fitzgerald and THE AMERKS HAVE TIED THE GAME AT THREE!!!! pic.twitter.com/rhzDewc3Em— Die By The Blade (@diebytheblade) May 5, 2022
Overtime was madness to start, with Belleville getting several huge chances early on. Josh Teves saved the game at one point, blocking a shot with his chest while in the blue paint behind Dell.
With just over three minutes left in the first OT, Ruotsalainen put the cherry on top:
The teams will now head to Belleville for the remainder of this best-of-three series. Game two is Friday night at 7 pm. If necessary (fingers crossed it won’t be!), game three would be Sunday at 3 pm.
If they win, the Amerks would then head to Utica to face the Comets in a series beginning Tuesday.