The Amerks travelled to to play a two game set against the Oklahoma City Barons and they came out on top of the first game with a 4-3 win in overtime. The team was up 2-1 before the Barons scored two goals in 56 seconds and then Paul Szczechura scored halfway through the third to tie the game and eventually send it to overtime. Watching the game online they had some struggles but didn’t back down from the top team in the league and came out victorious with an overtime goal scored by Drew Schiestel.
This was the third straight win for the Amerks and just like that they’re within three points of the North Division leading Toronto Marlies. They’re still eighth in the Western Conference but can quickly jump to third by taking over the top spot in the division. Assuming the team keeps playing hard every night, players can stay healthy and there’s few call ups anything is possible.. as everyone says, it’s a long season and it’s still only December.
Back to the game….. Paul Szczechura (aka Chewy.. aka Sahara if you listen to Rick Jeanneret) fresh off a recall to the Buffalo Sabres scored the first goal of the game only two minutes and 45 seconds into the game on the power play. He was standing near the front of the net and popped in a rebound from Derek Whitmore. Just under five minutes later at 7:45 of the first period Josh Green for the Barons tied it 1-1 deflecting a shot into the net on the power play.
The Amerks went up 2-1 at 10:39 of the first period thanks to Alex Biega and they held the lead for the rest of the period. Szczechura got an assist on the goal by winning the face off and Biega ripped a one timer from the top of the face off circle past Barons goaltender Yann Danis. As the season goes on Biega is stepping up his game and has now scored two goals in the last three games and has at least a point in three out of his last four. A young Brian Campbell in the making?
Jonathan Parker finally put the puck in the back of the net, something he hasn’t done since October 16th, but the goal was waived off due to a roughing penalty on Riley Boychuck. Seven seconds into that penalty kill Joe Finley was sent to the box for a delay of game call which gave the Barons a minute 53 second five on three advantage. Thanks to a few outstanding saves by Drew MacIntyre and a couple more saves by the goal posts the Amerks successfully killed off both of those penalties.
That should have given the team a little momentum but instead that went to the Barons as they controlled the remainder of the period.
At 18:10 of the second a former Amerks player, Triston Grant, scored to tie the game 2-2 with a shot that went high and appeared to bounce off the top of MacIntyre’s mask and then off of the crossbar and into the net. Ryan O’Marra scored 56 seconds later to give the Barons a 3-2 lead to end the second. It was the one goal in the game that can be said that MacIntyre should’ve saved. O’Marra had brought the puck to the front of the net and it trickled through the five hole. The Barons had a 13-3 advantage in shots in the second period alone.
Things weren’t looking too bleak heading into the third period, the Barons coming into the night were undefeated this season when leading after two periods. This no quit Amerks team wasn’t about to call it a night though, they knew what was on the line against the top team in the league and they battled back to get back into the game.
Paul Szczechura was the hero of the game to tie it 3-3 right at the halfway mark of the third period with ten minutes remaining on the clock. Szczechura was in front of the net battling for a loose puck and won the battle and put a wrist shot past Yann Danis. If only this team had one more center like Szczechura.
It was a close game until the end of the third period with both teams getting chances and both goaltenders making the saves when needed.
Philippe Cornet of the Barons was sent to the penalty box for slashing in overtime which gave the Amerks the advantage and Drew Schiestel turned out to be the hero of the night blasting a slap shot from the top of the right face off circle to give the Amerks the 4-3 win. Phil Varone was on the ice to feed the puck to Schiestel who tallied his second goal of the season.
The same two teams are back at it again on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City for an 8pm Eastern Time start. The Amerks will be hungry for more and the Barons will be as well, should be another great hockey game.
A few other things:
** The only apparent bad news out of the game was that Evan Rankin, the Amerks best player over the past 12 games, was hit with a shoulder to the head and fell hard to the ice. He was eventually helped off of the ice and did not return. It was a very similar play that knocked Travis Turnbull out of action for almost a month when he missed nine games. Hopefully it looked worst than it was.
** Shaone Morrisson sat the game out again with an injury, still not sure what the injury is.
** The Barons must have hit at least six or seven pucks off of the goal posts and cross bar, possibly more. The outcome could have been a lot different if it weren’t for those shots that were just off.
** A large crowd is expected for Friday nights home game against the Hamilton Bulldogs so if you planned to go and don’t have tickets you should hurry up. The lower bowl looks to be just about filled up.
Rochester Americans 4 (OT) at Oklahoma City Barons 3 – Status: Final OT
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 – Cox Convention Center
Rochester 2 0 1 1 – 4
Oklahoma City 1 2 0 0 – 3
1st Period-1, Rochester, Szczechura 2 (Schiestel, Whitmore), 2:45 (PP). 2, Oklahoma City, Green 6 (Paajarvi, Helmer), 7:25 (PP). 3, Rochester, Biega 3 (Szczechura, Fienhage), 10:39. Penalties-Teubert Okc (boarding), 1:04; Szczechura Rch (tripping), 4:09; Fienhage Rch (interference), 6:46; O’Marra Okc (boarding), 7:44; Turnbull Rch (holding the stick), 12:02.
2nd Period-4, Oklahoma City, Grant 8 (VandeVelde, Tyrvainen), 18:10. 5, Oklahoma City, O’Marra 6 (Ringwald), 19:06. Penalties-Green Okc (tripping), 5:09; Boychuk Rch (roughing), 10:53; Finley Rch (delay of game), 11:00; Chorney Okc (holding), 19:18.
3rd Period-6, Rochester, Szczechura 3 10:00. Penalties-No Penalties
OT Period-7, Rochester, Schiestel 2 (Varone), 3:21 (PP). Penalties-Cornet Okc (slashing), 1:53.
Shots on Goal-Rochester 12-3-7-1-23. Oklahoma City 10-13-5-2-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Rochester 2 / 5; Oklahoma City 1 / 5.
Goalies-Rochester, MacIntyre 6-9-1 (30 shots-27 saves). Oklahoma City, Danis 13-5-0 (23 shots-19 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84), Geoff Miller (28).
Linesmen-John Grandt (95), Johnathan Morrison (27).
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