The Rochester Americans wrapped up their fourth game of a season long six game road trip by losing to the Manitoba Moose by the final score of 2-1. With the loss the Amerks dropped to 18-4-1-0 for the season and 2-2-0-0 on the road trip. That’s right, only their 4th loss out of 23 games. This was the first time the Amerks have lost when they’ve scored the first goal of the game.
It only took Graham Mink a total of 26 seconds to score the only goal for the Amerks. Mink took the puck towards the net and was able to just barely get his stick on the puck and slid it through the legs of Cory Schneider.
This was Ryan Mior’s first regular season professional game and he played well, he certainly kept the Amerks in the game. Mior made 22 saves in the game, including a penalty shot by Dan Sexton. Sexton went with a back hand shot but Mior was able to get a small piece of the puck and deflected it high over the net.
Mior and Amerks coach Benoit Groulx know each other well. Mior was goalie for the Gatineau Olympiques when Groulx was the head coach. It certainly says a lot about the trust that Groulx must have in Beckford-Tseu based on Mior getting the start.
Aaron Rome scored the first goal for the Moose at 17:07 of the first period on the power play. The Moose had a two man advantage thanks to the Amerks having too many men on the ice and then Jordan Henry taking an undisciplined slashing penalty. Rome took a wrist shot from the high slot and beat Amerks goaltender Ryan Mior just above his shoulder.
Rome scored again at 9:08 of the second period with a similar shot from the face off circle and put the puck into the far side of the net past Mior.
The goals appeared to be easy shots for Rome. He saw the opening and placed the puck perfect. Mior should not have allowed such an opening, but I’ll give him a pass for his first game. They definitely were not easy goals that he gave up.
Groulx always calls games they way they are and he did so again on the Moose post game show saying, “I thought we had a decent effort but our energy level was pretty low.”
The Amerks stayed in the game, but they need to do more than just stay in a game. It was obvious they were tired and starting to run on empty. Shawn Matthias was not very visible for most of the game but he also traveled for most of the day.
The defense of the Manitoba Moose is what won the game. They were able to keep the Amerks around the outside, limited the number of shots in close, and were able to consistently clear the puck. The complete opposite of what Rochester defense was able to do.
There’s a few ways to look at this game, mostly positive. The team is 18-4-1-0 which and still the best in the league, but we need to keep a clear head and not let the record cloud other elements of the game to be concerned about. Here’s some additional thoughts:
** The Amerks came out strong in the first five minutes of the game before things started to even out. The Moose played a good game but as we saw they’re not the “great” team that some had wondered about. The game is further evidence that this Amerks team is a great team. They’re without a number of key players and their #1 goalie but stayed in the game.
** If Steve MacIntyre is going to have his ice time that limited why not put James DeLory in the lineup and see what he can do? He can skate faster and is probably hungry for some playing time. DeLory can also drop the gloves if needed so it’s not like they’ll be losing any toughness. He’s also capable of playing a phsyical game, something the Amerks are lacking right now.
** The Amerks defense is something that is becoming a concern. They’ve been having trouble lately controlling the puck out of their own end. They’re allowing too many quality shots. They just need to start doing a better job of being able to take control of the game. It’s something that was happening at the start of the season but it seems like the focus is on trying to be too offensive and it’s starting to catch up.
** The offense also seems to be lacking that firepower they had in the first quarter of the season. They’re not completing the perfect passes. They’re not setting up plays in the oppositions zone. Obviously with only four regulation losses out of 22 games they’re doing something right, but as the season continues to heat up there are valid reasons to question things.
** Another way to look at both the offense and defense is that when you’re the number one team in the league that means other teams are going to take notice and try to figure you out. It’s up to the team to stay one step ahead of everyone else to be able to stay in the lead.
** Thanks to everyone who stopped by the live chat during the game. It was active the whole game with some great discussions and different view points. It looks like it will become a regular thing for away games. There was a lot more readers than chatters, if you’re lurking take a moment to say hi! http://letsgoamerks.com/livechat
Rochester will travel to Abbotsford on Thursday. They’ll have a practice on Friday followed by games on Saturday and Sunday at 9pm against the Heat. The Hear are another divisional opponent that is trying to catch up to the Amerks, another important four points are at stake.