Heading into the game on Friday night there were low expectations due to the fact that the Amerks had lost another forward to a call up, that player being Zack Kassian. That meant the Amerks would be without him, TJ Brennan, Corey Tropp and Drew MacIntyre. The Amerks are still without forwards Travis Turnbull, Michael Ryan and Jonathan Parker who have not returned from injuries. The results of the game though was unexpected with the Amerks winning 4-2 thanks to a solid team effort.
The Amerks had called Riley Boychuck back up from the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL and also signed Evan Rankin to a tryout contract from the Toledo Walleye to help add some extra warm bodies to the bench due to the lack of players.
Shaone Morrisonn, Jacob Lagace, Colin Stuart and Derek Whitmore all scored for the Amerks. Three players out of those four who scored are exactly the players you’d hope to have scoring during times like this when the roster is a shell of what it’s supposed to be.
Morrisonn was in perfect position near the front of the net to put in a rebound. Lagace scored on a breakaway thanks to a great pass up the middle of the ice from Alex Biega. Colin Stuart had rolled over Jeff Frazee after he scored the game winner and Derek Whitmore scored being in the right place at the front of the net to score on the rebound.
The only real downside to the game could possibly be the two goals that David Leggio allowed. Both of the goals were high on his glove side that looked really slow. The plus side is that the Amerks defense continued to play strong in front of him and the Amerks offense put four goals up on the board to take away the meaning those two goals had.
Joe Finley was again impressive and obviously frustrating to the Albany Devils. The game winning goal was scored as referee Jon McIsaac had his arm raised on a delayed penalty against the Devils Vladimir Zharkov for slashing against Finley. After the goal was scored Finley looked back at Zharkov and smiled with his glove raised in a “take that” fashion.
Evan Rankin was given a top role early in the game starting on the opening lineup with Colin Stuart and Paul Szczechura. Rankin ended the game with an assist and seven shots on goal against the Devils. We’ve seen positive production like that before from a guy freshly called up, hopefully he can continue with that level of play.
There was a solid effort all around from the entire team which resulted in holding off the Devils and putting four goals up on the scoreboard. The team played with a lot of energy and played for a solid 60 minutes and it resulted in a much needed win. This team may be losing players on what seems like a daily basis but they continue to be competitive and win games, except against Toronto or Hamilton. The Amerks are back on home ice Saturday night at 7:35pm to take on the Hamtilon Bulldogs, a team they have not defeated yet this season.
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