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Amerks Monster Mashed, Rematch Saturday

Amerks Monster Mashed, Rematch Saturday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Amerks welcomed a familiar foe, the Cleveland Monsters, to New York on Friday and suffered a familiar fate as Monsters F Carson Meyer scored the game-winning goal late in the third to give Cleveland a 4-3 win.

Cleveland controlled the series last season, going 4-1-0-1 against the Amerks, a team that will look to even up the season series on Saturday. However, it wasn’t all lost in Rochester tonight – the Amerks’ social media team got a solid win in the meme department with a Taylor Swift reference, born from a second-period scrap between Casey Fitzgerald and Meyer. In honor of the Amerks’ social media team, see if you can spot the Taylor Swift references sprinkled throughout this article.

First Period – Two is Better Than One

Both teams struggled to establish any kind of momentum in the early stages of the game, finally finding their footing around the 5:00 mark of the first period. Mark Jankowski got the scoring started in the ROC, firing a shot through traffic and behind Daniil Tarasov to give the Amerks their first lead of the night at 9:10 of the first period. It didn’t take long for the Monsters to shake it off, as Tristan Mullin was able to barely slide the puck past Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen during a scramble in front of the Amerks’ net only 31 seconds after Jankowski’s goal. Rochester reclaimed the lead with 2:59 left in the period as Mattias Samuelsson found Brett Murray in front of the net, where he was able to lift the puck over a falling Tarasov for his second goal of the season.

While the shot clock was not in favor of the Amerks at the end of the first, the scoreboard was. UPL stopped 14/15 shots, giving Rochester a 2-1 lead going into the first intermission.

Second Period – You Need to Calm Down

Cleveland tested Luukkonen early and often at the start of the second period, and UPL was ready for it. Rochester had their first man advantage of the night as Tyler Sikura was sent to the box for hooking at the 5:29 mark. Ethan Prow registered the only shot on goal during the Amerks’ first power play with five seconds remaining on the Sikura penalty.

The scariest moment of the game occurred at the 11:41 mark when Rochester F Linus Weissbach was checked in the head by Meyer. Weissbach was able to skate off under his own power after receiving some medical attention. Meyer would have to answer for his hit on Weissbach with 2:38 remaining in the period as Fitzgerald dropped the gloves with Meyer.

Cleveland would go on to tie the game at 2-2 not too long after both teams were assessed fighting majors as Brendan Gaunce scored his fourth goal of the season with 1:52 left in the second period. Gaunce was able to clean up a huge rebound off of a Liam Foudy shot that Luukkonen could not corral.

Amerks coach Seth Appert noted that the team seemed to be playing frustrated when the offense was not coming for them, specifically during the second period. Notably, Peyton Krebs seemed to be fighting the puck all night long.

Third Period – End Game

Tensions began to boil over fairly early in the third period, as the teams broke out in what could be best described as a line disagreement, as opposed to a line brawl. As a result of the play, JJ Peterka was sent to the box for holding, and Dillon Simpson and Jankowski were given two minutes each for roughing.

Jankowski did not stop at just one roughing penalty on the night – he took his second around the halfway mark of the period, giving the Monsters a well-timed power-play opportunity. Unfortunately for the Monsters, Jack Quinn found the back of the net for a shorthanded Rochester squad. Quinn danced around Gaunce and fired a shot in on Tarasov, who could not make a save, giving the Amerks a 3-2 lead with 9:01 left in the period. Quinn’s goal alleviated some of the aforementioned frustration for the Quinn-Krebbs-Peterka line.

Quinn noted that the shorthanded goal, “felt good,” and went on to discuss the line’s frustrations: “I think our line was a little frustrated the whole game, so to get one in the third I think fired us up pretty good, but unfortunately we kinda couldn’t hold the lead once we got it, so it was too bad.”

As Quinn mentioned, the Amerks could not hold on to a one-goal lead for the third time in the game, allowing the tying Monsters goal only 33 seconds after the Rochester shorty. Justin Danforth was able to put away a power-play goal with 8:28 left in the period. The power-play goal came during a 5-on-3, courtesy of a delay of game call on Samuelsson.

The game remained tied until the 15:30 mark of the third when a 50/50 battle in the neutral zone over a loose puck was won by the Monsters, leading to an odd-man rush as Sikura and Meyer came up ice with speed, Samuelsson the lone Amerk defender. Meyer was able to control an errant pass from Sikura and beat Luukkonen, lighting the lamp with 4:30 left in regulation.

Rochester would make a valiant effort to come back to tie this one and send it into overtime, but they were no match for Tarasov, who was able to stop 23 of 26 shots to secure his first win of the season.

Long Story Short

Though pleased with his team’s play during parts of Friday’s matchup, Coach Appert believed that the better team won.

“I thought Cleveland was really good tonight, I thought they deserved to beat us. Even though we put ourselves in position to win late, I still didn’t think we were good enough tonight.”

Samuelsson picked up two assists on the evening, bringing him to 0-4-4 on the season, while Quinn picked up his eighth goal on the campaign, putting him one goal shy of league leader Martin Frk‘s nine goals. Quinn leads AHL Rookies in goals and is second behind Springfield D Scott Perunovich in rookie scoring. Luukkonen stopped 39 of 43 shots, bringing his total save percentage to .874 and his goals-against average to 3.85. The Monsters outshot the Amerks by a count of 43-26.

Fortunately for Amerks fans, the team will take the ice for a rematch against the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday. Coach Appert is excited to see how his team responds to playing a tough Monsters team two nights in a row.

“When you have to play the same team back to back nights, there’s animosity that builds in that… it’s a good thing, it’s a healthy thing. It’s good for the game,” Appert said post-game.

Puck-drop on the second matchup in two days between the Amerks and Monsters is at 6:05 EST on Saturday. Look for Michael Houser to make his season debut for the Amerks, and Jean-Francois Berube should get the nod for the Monsters.

Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!

    Jeremy Paul is in his first season covering the Rochester Americans for Field Pass Hockey. You can follow him and interact with him on Twitter @FPHAmericans.

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