Wednesday night the Amerks finally managed to exorcise their home ice demons against the Comets with a 3-1 victory. Even though Rochester had taken points in the last 3 games in Utica, the Comets had outscored the Amerks 7-1 in the previous two meetings at the Blue Cross Arena. After an early soft goal spawned from the inability of MacWilliam and Tennyson to clear the net, it looked as though a repeat was forthcoming. However, that was the only goal that Ullmark would surrender in a dominant performance. MacWilliam also grew into the game very well and played great physical hockey delivering blows behind the net on several occasions.
Unfortunately, Seth Griffith was not able to find his game in a similar fashion. He played his worst game since arriving in Rochester (and still managed to record an assist). I am going to rate his performance a C-.
Offensively, Griffith was very disappointing. He committed a litany of neutral zone turnovers in bad spots that led to odd man rushes. Whether failing to skate the puck, or completely missing a pass, he just didn’t have it. On one occasion in the offensive zone, he allowed his man to step right in front of him to intercept the puck and clear it up the boards with ease. The only bright spot (and only SOG) came on the power play when he flung a nice low shot to the far post. It led to a juicy rebound that CJ Smith cleaned up for a goal. This extended his point streak to 6 consecutive games. When your hot, your hot. Based on how well Griffith has played in previous games, I’m sure this was an outlier game for him and I expect much better performances in the future.
Defensively, Seth really wasn’t much better. He was on the ice for the only Utica goal and failed to cut down the angle on the breakout pass that started the play. If 39 was fore-checking more intensely he could have easily prevented the pass up the wing. I don’t think he applied enough pressure on defensemen for the majority of the game. Fore-checking or pressing the point, he just didn’t have enough energy and wasn’t able to effect the play. If not for a fantastic night from Linus, his turnovers also could have let the Comets right back into the game.
It can not be said enough what a great addition Griffith has been to the Amerks. As a proven goal scorer at the AHL level, he will certainly play a massive role with this team going forward. I am looking forward to seeing how he bounces back from this shaky game.