The last time the Rochester Americans won a home game on a Friday night was November 27th, with the loss to the Manitoba Moose on Friday they have since lost eight straight Friday night home games. That game they won in November was the game that they were up 4-0 and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins scored three in the third to make it a close game.
The difference maker in the game was Moose goaltender Cory Schneider who made 32 saves and only allowed three goals. After the game Schneider said, “I knew they were going to come hard, my whole goal tonight was to come in here and steal a game and give my team a chance to win.”
Jeff Taffe talked about Schneider and goal tending saying, “He’s a great goaltender, as well as we played you’ve got to give him a lot of credit. Good goaltenders win games like that. We were the benefactor I think early in the year. Our goalies were stealing games every night and just kind of hit a little rut right now.”
“He’s a confidence builder for everybody, he loves that too. He loves when the game gets tight and he gets lots of action around him,” Moose head coach Scott Arniel said after the game. “He’s a guy that loves to step up and play in those big games, got a little scramble there towards the end but he was the guy to make the big saves.”
Someone that is a confidence builder on the team. That’s something the Amerks appear to need, someone to build their confidence back up.
I don’t think that anyone has a way to explain the continued slump of the Rochester Americans. Since the last meeting on Tuesday between these two teams the Moose had to travel to play a game in Toronto and then back to Rochester. The Amerks have been in town preparing for the game. Practice time can’t be an issue. Travel has not been an issue.
The effort was certainly there for much of the game and that was the talking point of post game interviews for the Amerks. The Amerks bounced back from a bad game last Friday to win as a team on Saturday, but has since lost three straight.
Benoit Groulx said, “One thing we have to understand is that if we’re giving the same effort as we did tonight it’s going to win us more games than lose games playing like this.”
Jimmy Bonneau was part of the effort given tonight when he plowed through a Moose player at the blue line early in the first period which allowed Jeff Taffe to steal the puck and skate in to score the first goal of the game.
The Moose scored the next three goals of the game to take a 3-1 lead heading into the third period. Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Dan Sexton, and Travis Ramsey tallied those goals.
Mike York scored at 2:06 of the third period to make it a one goal game. York had missed the past 33 games but based on the way he looked on the ice it did not appear that he missed any.
With the score tied 3-2 towards the end of the third period it appeared as if the Amerks could make a late game come back again. When asked if the game had the feel of a late come back Graham Mink said, “yea until I turned the puck over like a fucking idiot, it felt that way.”
Michael Grabner took advantage of the third period turnover to score and put the Moose up 4-3 at 15:46.
Down by two the Amerks were not giving up. They continued to play hard and Chris Taylor scored at 17:08 to get the Amerks back within one.
“Taylors line made a great play to get it close but we couldn’t get the equalizer,” Mink said.
Mink also talking about effort said, “I think if we bring the effort like that every night we’ll win more than we lose, but it still sucks to lose.”
Jeff Taffe said that everyone is well aware of the standings. “Nobody likes the rut we’re in, no one likes losing. We have to stay positive, its not going to do us any good to get down on ourselves. We got ourselves into it and we’ve got to work our way out and i think we took a step forward tonight doing that. As long as we’re playing hard like we did tonight I think we’re going to win a lot more than we lose.”
It’s interesting hearing things from a different perspective. The 18-3 start for the Amerks has been to their advantage up until this point in the season but teams have gained ground. They no longer have a wide lead in the standings. These divisional losses at the end of March could come back to haunt them.
Talking about the standings Scott Arniel said, “When you’re in February and almost March you look at the standings. You always want to know what everybody is doing and anytime specifically in your division you really want to make sure to keep an eye on teams. You beat the teams that you’re trying to catch and that’s a big step.”
The Portland Pirates are going for a franchise record 11th straight win on Saturday night against the Amerks. The Pirates are the team that ended the Amerks record breaking winning streak back in November. If history tells us anything it’s that the Amerks will play on Saturday like the team they should be.
Lately I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, the same things keep happening over and over.