The Amerks Are Burning Down The House
Last night the Rochester Americans faced the Utica Comets in a lightly attended Friday night home game at the Blue Cross Arena. A kitchen fire left Utica’s goalie Richard Bachman in a haze during the 2nd period, but it was the Amerks who smoked Bachman scoring 2 goals on just 3 shots in the 3rd period. Lots of blocked shots and strong team camaraderie propelled the Amerks to a decisive 4-0 win, giving Wedgewood his first shutout of the season.
Redmond opened up scoring with a power play goal. Pilut cycled and passed to Olofsson, who hit Redmond with a perfect pass. Redmond fired a blazing one-timer from the point that beat Bachman as he slid across the crease. Porter scored the only goal in the 2nd period. A loose puck was heading towards the slot and Bachman came out to play it. Porter got the jump on Bachman and beat him to the puck. All it took was a quick deke and light back-handed shot for Porter to put the Amerks up 2-0. 8:45 into the 3rd period O’Regan redirected Borgen’s shot from the point, putting the Amerks up 3-0. As the period neared the 13 minute mark Nylander broke in on net for a quality scoring opportunity but Bachman made the save. The ref’s hand went up on the play signaling a delayed penalty. Then in a odd moment, Utica’s Jesse Graham slapped the puck in anger and the puck ended up in the back of the net. Nylander was given credit for the goal since he was the last Amerk that touched the puck. The refs discussed the goal and decided that even though there was a delayed penalty pending against the Comets, slapping the puck didn’t constitute control and therefore the goal was good. With this fluke goal Utica’s night was over.
Tyler Randell and Vincent Arseneau gave the crowd at the Blue Cross Arena a boost of energy early in the 3rd period with a fight in front of the Amerks bench. Arseneau landed several punches early but I’d give this match to Randell, who landed several punches late and snapped back to his feet after losing his footing not once, but twice. Randell ultimately ended the fight after Arseneau lost his helmet.
Pilut had assists on 3 of 4 Amerks goals, Olofsson tallied another assist, and Redmond scored another power play goal. With their continued production, Olofsson, Redmond, and Pilut are currently the leading scorers in the AHL (in that order).
While he isn’t leading the league in points, Porter has really impressed me this season. He continually demonstrates his veteran experience with smart plays all over the ice. His 2nd period goal was a clear example of that experience and he made it look easy. Nylander, who I have been critical of in the past, is showing signs of improvement. Instead of standing out for turnovers and ducking checks, he is finding the puck and getting to the net. He even played the body a bit last night, opting for throwing his shoulder instead of avoiding contact along the boards. Nylander still needs a lot of development but I no longer consider him a liability — and dare I say it — he’s developing into an asset.
Coach Chris Taylor deserves a lot of credit for keeping the locker room attitude positive after a rough start to the 2018-19 season. The Amerks have righted the ship and currently lead their division.
The Amerks face the Laval Rocket tonight at the Blue Cross Arena at 7:05pm.