The Amerks played spoilers on Saturday night by defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins and ending the Griffins nine game winning streak and also handed the Griffins their first home loss of the season.
Alexander Salak won his 10th game of the season by saving 33 of the 34 shots he faced. Is it too early to vote a most valuable player of the season? Salak had a rough game on Thursday but was back to being himself with a number of impressive saves.
I’m sure that the defense thanks Salak after every win since he he keeps the heat off of them for mistakes made that allow for such quality shots to be taken on net.
Logan Pyett ruined Salaks bid for a shutout with a power play goal with 42 seconds left on the clock, assisted by Jeremy Williams and Doug Janik.
The Griffins had just killed off a two minute penalty late when Jason Garrison was called for cross checking.
At the end of the 08/09 season Matt Duffy had been a key player on the blue line but was not very impressive in the preseason. In 10 games with the Florida Everblades he had only one assist. In the game Saturday night against the Griffins the Duffy from last season returned.
Duffy was solid on the blue line against one of the hottest teams in the league scoring the first goal of the game and assisting on the second, both on the power play. One game does not make a player, but he looked good.
Duffy’s first goal was scored at 13:24 of the first period off a slap shot from the blue line, assisted by Jeff Taffe and Jamie Johson.
Just over three minutes later Jamie Johnson scored what would turn out to be the game winner at 16:42 of the first period. Mike York and Matt Duffy were credited with assists.
Jordan Henry gave the Amerks a commanding 3-0 lead in the game with a shot from the left side of the net at 14:24 of the second period, Jeff Taffe and Jamie Johnson assisted on that one.
Just after that goal was scored Jimmy Bonneau and Paul Crosty dropped the gloves for their first bout of the season. Bonneau had another impressive fight to add to his fight card this season.
The team has talked about playing for two points every night and that’s what they did tonight. They got the job done with contributions from those expected to lead the team along with a player that was called up to help, Matt Duffy.
With Rory Fitzpatrick out about 3-4 weeks to have more surgery done on his hernia the additional help on the blue line is needed. That was one thing that hurt the Amerks in their loss against Portland, controlling the puck from the blue line. I’m not ready to say Duffy is a solid replacement for Fitzpatrick, but I’ll give him the chance. If there was one weak spot on this team it’s the 6th man on defense.
The Rochester Americans have yet again shown that they know how to rebound from mistakes and bad games (all three of them). That’s a great quality to have in a team.
Rochester is still holding on to first place in the North Division and the league with 27 points. Their next game is on Friday November 20th vs the Syracuse Crunch at home. The Crunch are a team still trying to find their way this season and as the Amerks learned on Thursday night that could prove to be a tough team to face.
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