The Belleville Senators stopped one of the hottest teams in the American Hockey League Saturday night, beating the Rochester Americans 5-4 in overtime and ending the Amerks five game win streak.
Senators Coach Troy Mann says his team cleaned up the areas addressed by the coaching staff after Friday’s loss and getting some secondary scoring helped.
Drake Batherson had the best early chance for Belleville around the 7:00 mark, when Jordan Murray launched a long feed from deep in his own end to the Senators rookie at the Amerks blue line, but he couldn’t tuck it past Wilcox.
The Sens would open the scoring a few minutes later with Gabriel Gagne finally scoring his first goal of the season, on his 18th shot on goal.
The Laval, Quebec native took a feed from Rudolfs Balcers on the rush and stepped into the Rochester zone, wiring a snap shot into the back of the net.
Gagne told reporters post game that he just tried to relax and not think about the slump.
Rochester would even the score at 12:48 when Brandon Hickey’s low wrist shot from the point bounced past McKenna to make it 1-1.
The Amerks number two ranked power play made its presence felt as well in the first period.
After not scoring on its first time out, the number one unit capitalized by moving the puck around the zone quickly and getting a low shot on net, which was deflected past McKenna by Wayne Simpson, putting Rochester back into the lead.
Belleville wasted no time drawing even 2-2 though, as Jack Rodewald deflected his third of the season between the legs of Wilcox just 21 seconds later.
Rochester would jump back in front 3-2, 5:01 into the third when Simpson lifted a saucer pass on the rush to Brandon Guhle, who slipped it between the legs of McKenna.
It took almost 8:00 of the second period before the Sens got a shot on goal and even a trio of power plays weren’t enough for them to even the score.
Belleville would make it 3-3 at 6:53 of the third period when Gabriel Gagne walked into the near circle again and snapped a hard pass along the ice, toward the net and Chase Balisy redirected it home for his first as a Senator.
The back and forth affair continued when Amerks defender William Borgen’s long shot hit something on the way to the net and snuck by Mike McKenna to put Rochester back in front, at 12:56, but Belleville wasn’t done.
Adam Tambellini would also get his first goal as a Senator with Belleville on a late power play.
After the forward had field to score on two great chances, he walked into the slot and ripped a wrist shot past Wilcox to tie it 4-4 and force overtime.
The extra frame lasted just 14 seconds.
Christian Wolanin drew a forechecker in behind the Belleville net then galloped up the right wing side and slung the puck across to Balisy who knocked it home to give the Senators the win.
Balisy credited the defender for his work on creating the game winning goal, says it’s nice to get his first in a Belleville uniform and that the team executed better overall.
Belleville is off until next Wednesday, when they continue the six game home stand against the Binghamton Devils.
Game time is 7:00 p.m. at CAA Arena, with 6:50 p.m. pregame on 800 AM CJBQ.