The positive on Friday night was that the Amerks were able to win in a shootout over the Hamilton Bulldogs to add a much needed two points to the standings. The five regulation goals were all scored by different players with Evgeny Dadonov, Daniel Steiner, and Jeff Taffe leading the way in the shootout. Alexander Salak stopped three of five shots in the shootout to pickup the win.
Steiner had another multiple point game along with a shootout goal as he makes a case for himself to earn a standard contract for the rest of the season. He’s certainly a player that has had no difficulties adjusting to a different style of game.
Goaltenders Alexander Salak for the Amerks and Cedrick Desjardins for the Bulldogs kept the game scoreless in the first period. Both teams had a number of quality chances with each goalie making great saves. Daniel Steiner had a total of 11 shots in the game with seven coming in the first period.
Those in attendance at the game got a great game to watch for the price of admission, especially if they were a Bulldogs fan.
The second period had five of the games 10 regulation goals. Brock Trotter scored the first goal of the game off a pass from David Desharnais who was able to outskate Jordan Henry around the back of the net.
Just over a minute later Jeff Taffe received an excelent pass from Daniel Steiner along the back boards and showed some great patience taking the puck around Cedrick Desjardins to tie the game at one on the power play.
Mathieu Darche was credited with the 2nd goal of the game for the Bulldogs off a goal that Salak slowed down but did not completely stop as it trickled through the crease and across the goal line.
Mike Duco got a lucky break on his goal to tie the game at two. Earlier in the play David Brine had broken his stick and it was laying in the Bulldogs defensive zone. Alexander Salak made a great pass towards the neutral zone to Keaton Ellerby who then fed the puck to Mike Duco. Bulldogs defender Alex Henry was skating backwards to stop Duco when he tripped over the broken stick. Duco went in further and his shot went off the right arm of Desjardin and in the net.
It only took Chris Taylor another 18 seconds to skate past two defenders and feed a centering pass to Clay Wilson who put it away for the Amerks to take a 3-2 lead.
Brock Trotter scored his second of the game at 1:05 of the third period with what looked like an easy goal. Salak had though Desharnais had the puck and as he was watching him skate one way from behind the net Trotter was coming from the opposite side and put the puck into the net to tie the game at three.
The Amerks power play has consistently had one defender and one offensive player at the blue line, a questionable setup by many. Friday nights experiment saw Michal Repik at the point and it worked out as he scored to put the Amerks ahead 4-3 with a shot from the point assisted by Jamie Johnson and Daniel Steiner.
Less than a minute later Shawn Matthias scored to give the Amerks what should have been a commanding 5-3 lead. Matthias and Mike Duco carried the play trading passes into the Bulldogs end before Matthias put it away. A great goal for a duo that is trying to find ways to be dominating players in the AHL.
The lead wouldn’t last for long as Ben Maxwell scored at 8:25 on the power play and then Mike Glumac scored a short handed goal at 16:30 of the third to tie the game 5-5. The Repik experiment seemed to backfire on that short handed goal as he missed the chance to hold on to the puck and was beat as the Bulldogs chased it down to score.
Late in the third period Jamie Johnson was skating behind Desjardins when he barely touched him and Desjardins went down like he was run over by a frieght train. P.K. Subban was on the ice and went after Johnson but Taffe was quickly at the scene to stick up for his friend. The way Taffe and Johnson back each other up on the ice is a great example for the rest of the team and hopefully they’re learning how to stand up for each other from these two.
Evgeny Dadonov, Daniel Steiner, and Jeff Taffe scored in the shootout to give the Amerks enough to win the game.
It wasn’t a pretty game watching the Amerks give up a 5-3 lead in the third period and allowing a league leading 11th short handed goal against. The special teams that were once at the top of the league have started dropping. Teams are starting to figure out ways to beat Alexander Salak with his unique style. Wins like this won’t win the team a Calder Cup but they will help make sure they make the playoffs where anyone has a chance.
The Amerks continue their two game road trip on Saturday in Syracuse where they look to extend the winning streak to three games and unbeaten streak against the Crunch this season. The game is at 7:30pm and as usual the live chat will be up and running.
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