The Rochester Americans have finally gotten themselves out of last place in the American Hockey League led by Tyler Plante with a 4-1 win on Tuesday night on the road against the Iowa Chops. The game was further evidence of a Jekyll and Hyde type of team that the Amerks have become. The Amerks played smart hockey with very few mistakes, tallying a power play goal, successfully killing four power play chances for the chops, and even scoring a short handed goal.
Heading into tonights game the Amerks trailed the Springfield Falcons by only one point in the standings, so the two points gained by the Amerks tonight puts them ahead by one. Both teams play again on Wednesday night, but hopefully now that the Amerks have gotten out of the cellar they’ll continue with the good and finally stop with the poor performances.
The performance by Tyler Plante was outstanding as he made 33 saves in the game for his second win of the season. Mike Brodeur was expected to start the game tonight but isn’t quite ready to return from his groin injury. What seemed like a tough scenario having Brodeur out injured has turned into an excellent showcase for Plante to show that he deserves the #2 spot here in Rochester for the remainder of the season.
Shawn Matthias scored the first goal of the game on the power play at 14:35 of the first period. I was listening to the game on the radio prior to watching the game on AHL Live and didn’t really catch the play develop, but it seemed as if Matthias went to the net and was able to get it past Jean-Philippe Levasseur. That was the first goal for Matthias since January 16th and his seventh of the season.
The second period was evenly matched, the Amerks had three power play chances and the Chops had two but neither team was able to put the puck in the net. Both teams finished the period with eight shots.
The Iowa Chops came out ready in the third as Eric Boguniecki scored only 1:19 into the period. Petteri Wirtanen won the face off against Drew Larman to the left of Tyler Plante, Wirtanen fed a quick pass from the face off dot directly to Boguniecki who quickly put it past Plante.
What happened next is something I don’t think has happened all season, the Rochester Americans rallied back to score three, yes three, goals in the third period!
The game winning goal for the Amerks was scored at 8:22 of the third period and was credited to Randall Gelech assisted by Mike Duco and Franklin MacDonald. At the time Drew Larman was given the goal, but the official score sheet says differently.
The third goal of the game was scored short handed by Drew Larman at 11:28 of the period. Shawn Matthias was in the penalty box for high sticking, but that didn’t stop the hustle of Drew “mustache” Larman. Karl Stewart had gotten the puck down low next to Chops goalie Levasseur and took a shot, Larman was there for the rebound when he pulled some fancy deke moves past Brian Salcido and put the puck in the net over a diving Levasseur.
Karl Stewart closed out the scoring with an empty net goal at 17:49, assisted by Michal Repik. That was K. Stewarts 11th goal of the season. With the assist Michal Repik continues his point streak to six games (4 goals and 3 assists).
That was only the second empty net goal of the year scored by the Amerks, does anything else need to be said?
The Rochester Americans are currently making the 5 1/2 hour bus trip to Chicago where they’ll play the defending Calder Cup Champion Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night at 8:05pm EST. This is the second and last game of the season between the two teams, the last game was on November 14th when the game ended in a shootout loss for the Amerks.