Despite a late third-period two-goal rally to climb out of a 3-0 deficit, time and a late burst of offense got the best of the Rochester Americans tonight as the Amerks dropped a 3-2 decision to the Albany River Rats at the Times Union Center. The game, the first of a four-game road trip for the Amerks, was the second of four scheduled meetings between the two teams this season. Janis Sprukts and Karl Stewart provided Rochester’s pair of goals while Chris Beckford-Tseu made 21 saves on 24 shots in his first start in net since November 29th at Grand Rapids. Dwight Helminen led the way offensively for the hometown Rats with a two-goal effort on the evening en route to first star honors. Former Amerk Michael Ryan also pitched in with a goal while Justin Peters turned away 18 saves to garner second and third star honors, respectively. After a scoreless first period, Ryan gave the River Rats a 1-0 lead at 14:11 of the second stanza with his ninth tally of the season. Albany quickly took a 2-0 just over a minute later with Helminen’s first of the game and eighth of the season. Pat Dwyer and former Amerk Yannick Tifu were each credited with assists on the play. Helminen would strike again, this time on the power play as a result to a Jason Garrison penalty, to extend the Rats lead to 3-0 just over three minutes into the third period. The goal would prove to be the game-winner for Albany. Sprukts and Stewart would score two minutes apart from each other to finally put Rochester on the board, but the Amerks couldn’t complete the late comeback as the Rats managed to stave Rochester’s last-minute attempt to get back in the game. Rochester closes its three-game weekend on Sunday, December 28th as it heads north of the border for a North Division matchup with the Hamilton Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum. The 4:00 p.m. matinee will be the second meeting in three nights for the divisional rivals.