The Rochester Americans finally had the chance to climb out of last place in the league on Sunday, but they failed in a 2-1 loss against the San Antonio Rampage. The Amerks are only trailing the 28th place Springfield Falcons by one point in the standings. The Falcons lost earlier in the day against the Binghamton Senators, a win and the Amerks would have finally climbed out of the cellar.
Based on the way they played the team probably deserves to be in last place.
There was no scoring in the first period, but the Amerks did manage to out shoot the Rampage 12-6 with two power play opportunities. Many of those 12 shots were quality shots, but none were able to find the back of the net.
Riley Emmerson and Francis Lessard dropped the gloves at 2:39 of the first period [watch video], it was a quick fight with about a dozen punches thrown by each before Lessard tossed Emmerson to the ice. Both players had their helmets on the entire time, which was probably because AHL President and CEO David Andrews was in attendance at the game.
We saw great hustle out of Rory Fitzpatrick who made a number of quality plays in the Rampage zone getting the puck moved around.
Dan Collins should get a special mention for his actions in the first. As he was skating into the Rampage zone the puck was heading out but he caught the puck, tossed it behind his back and continued the play.
At the end of the first period I thought the team had been playing decent, but that all seemed to changed when they returned to the ice for the second period, even though the game was scoreless at that point.
The Amerks had a golden opportunity at 9:36 when they went on a 5 minute power play, but they failed to get any shots on net and also failed to even get any plays started. The worst part about it was that the Rampage were able to get two shots on goal. At that point in the game the team seemed to lose it’s motivation, even though they were only down by one goal.
“Instead of giving us momentum it took our momentum away,” Benoit Groulx commented.
The icing on the cake came at 2:58 of the thid period when Keaton Ellerby assisted on the Rampages second goal of the game scored by Adam Perry. The puck lost some steam going down the ice so icing was called off. With Perry in chase, Ellerby tried to take the puck around the net but lost control of it. As the puck slid to the front of the net Perry gave a nice hustle and was able to easily squeeze it past Plante who wasn’t expecting the play.
There’s a common theme in games this season, big saves by the goalie but the offense is unable to score. Groulx made a similar comment stating, “For us it’s like deja vu, struggle at scoring and our confidence going down and end up trailing by one or two goals. That’s the story of the game.”
By my quick glance through the seasons games, the Amerks have lost 17 games by either a one or two goal deficit. That’s the story of the season, a lack of scoring in games that were close has resulted in a lack of wins.
About 54 minutes too late in the game with a scramble in front of the net Michal Repik put the puck in the net to narrow the deficite to one goal. Mike Duco and Shawn Matthias were credited with assists. After a long drought, Repik seems to have gotten his scoring touch back as he has scored in four straight games and at least a point in the last five.
On Friday night the Amerks tallied two power play goals which helped them win the game, the same kind of playing tonight would’ve made the difference in the game. They finished 0 for 6 on the power play, which will help keep them ranked in last place for the power play with 11.8%.
Towards the end of the third period the PA Announcer announced that someone was needed at the D&C booth, a fan up around section 223 yelled out, “Could the Amerks please report to the ice!”
Tyler Plante had his third straight solid game making 29 saves, Groulx said his playing earned him a start on at least one of the next five games coming up on the road.
Mike Brodeur will be making the trip and they’ll see how he is during practice on Tuesday to make a decision about him starting.
We won’t see any roster changes with the goalies just yet as all three are going on the road.
Also to note, Tanner Glass is probably done with the season. A shoulder injury that has been bugging him for sometime has turned out to be something worst than originally thought. He’s going to get an MRI done and more than likely will need surgery. He said it’s an injury he probably could have played with, but the smart thing to do is get it fixed rather than make it worst.
Janis Sprukts will be rejoining the team in Iowa. He had been playing for his native country Latvia and helped them qualify for the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver.
Here’s our pictures from the game: