The one thing that Rochester Americans can still play for is the role of spoiler. They did a good job tonight by winning 4-2 over the Binghamton Senators and can try again on Saturday in Syracuse. The Senators and Crunch are both in the hunt for the playoffs and each team needs every point they can get. Janis Sprukts led the Amerks tonight with an assist on each goal and David Shantz stopped 42 out of 44 shots. That’s a total of 92 saves over the previos two games for Shantz.
The Amerks won the game by skating fast, not making costly mistakes, great passes and by finishing plays and scoring. This was one of those games this season where they looked like a playoff team, not second to last place in the league.
Riley Emmerson and Jeremy Yablonski both started the game and lined up next each other on the opening face off, I thought they would drop the gloves but nothing happened. I couldn’t find either play after the game to ask why. This was the 8th and final game of the season between the two teams, the Senators won the season series 5-3. There seemed to be a lot of words said on the ice.
“Tonight felt good, it was a little chippy at times, after eight games that kind of stuff can build up,” Assistant Coach Jason Cipolla said after the game.
Peter Aston scored the first goal of the game at 16:03 of the first period, it was the only even strength goal of the game for the Amerks. Janis Sprukts setup the play by skating around the Senators net, down the goal line, to the end boards and then fed a great pass to Peter Aston who was waiting in the slot to beat Jeff Glass stick side.
Stefan Meyer scored his 17th goal of the season on the power play at 11:48 of the 2nd period, assisted by Michal Repik and Janis Sprukts. Sprukts started the play again by feeding a pass from one blue line to the other where Michal Repik was racing down the left side, got to the face off circle, passed the puck over the Meyer who was all alone to beat Glass stick side again.
Meyer said the following about his first goal, “That’s my game, I’m always looking for the open space and those two guys (Repik and Sprukts) can make those plays. The pass from Repik was a great sauce and I had time to pick the top corner and get a good release.”
The game winning goal turned out to be a shot from the point by Matt Duffy for his second goal in three games. Janis Sprukts took a pass from Repik who was along the boards and then slid the puck over to Duffy who scored top shelf glove side as Meyer was screening Glass in front of the net.
Duffy didn’t get as much ice time in previous games, but was again effective on the power play. Duffy said, “I thought I didn’t play that well tonight, I was lucky enough to get a goal, just have to get back to my game plan and keep it simple.”
“He has a very good shot which makes him effective on the power play, that shot, the screen by Meyer, the goalie has no chance if he can’t see it,” Jason Cipolla commented.
For those counting that’s two goals and three assist in four games for Matt Duffy.
Talking more about Duffy, Cipolla said, “Duffy has good hockey sense which helps him. His ability to adjust to the pro game has helped by his hockey sense so he’s able to make the jump probably quicker than other people because of that.”
The fourth goal of the game scored by Stefan Meyer was his 18th of the season on the power play, again assisted by Sprukts for his fourth assist of the night. This goal was one of those bounces that every hockey player appreciates once in a while. Janis Sprukts had the puck behind the net and passed it down and around the boards to Keaton Ellerby who took a shot from the top of the face off circle, Glass made the initial save but left a juicy rebound for Meyer who as he was falling to the ice put the puck in the net.
“I think I scored that from my rear end. I kind of figure skate toe picked as I was going for the puck and falling, just wanted to make sure I got everything I could on it,” Meyer said about the goal. “We got a good bounce and right back to where I was. We havn’t had too many of those bounces all year and it shows, helps a lot.”
The Binghamton Senators scored their first goal of the game at 9:20 of the third period as Mark Bomersback scored his third goal of the season unassisted. Shawn Matthias had won the initial face off against Marc Covosie but Bomersback took off fast beating Stefan Meyer and Peter Aston with the puck down the left side and was able to squeeze the puck under the left pad of Shantz.
The Senators scored their second of the game with 21 seconds remaining off a great pass from Denis Hamel to Derek Smith to Greg Mauldin. It was too little too late.
I asked Meyer if he was trying to get that 20 goal mark and he said, “I missed so many darn games, it would be nice, finish the season strong, 30 wins would be great as well.”
The Amerks have another chance to spoil the hopes of another team when they play Saturday night in Syracuse against the Crunch. The Crunch are in a race with the Toronto Marlies. We’ll be at the game so stop back tomorrow night for more updates as well as keep an eye on our Twitter account for real time updates from the game!