AMERKS GAIN VALUABLE POINT IN 2-1 SHOOTOUT LOSS TO LAKE ERIE
The Rochester Americans saw their five-game winning streak come to an end Sunday in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena, but the Amerks still gained a valuable point to maintain their hold on seventh place in the Western Conference standings with just three games remaining in the regular season. Rochester has now picked up at least a point in six consecutive games.
Goaltender Mark Guggenberger, who was signed to a professional tryout by the Amerks earlier in the day, was sensational in his AHL debut, finishing with 41 saves on 42 shots in regulation and overtime before stopping seven of 10 shootout attempts. Nick Crawford scored the lone Amerks goal while Phil Varone and Brayden Irwin each collected an assist.
Lake Erie’s Guillaume Desbiens scored the game-winning goal in the 10th round of the shootout while Andrew Agozzino tallied the Monsters’ only goal in regulation. Netminder Sami Aittokallio turned aside 22 of 23 shots in regulation and overtime before denying eight of 10 Rochester shooters in the shootout.
The Amerks got on the board first with a power play tally by Crawford at the 7:23 mark of the opening period. As Rochester made its way up ice, Irwin got the puck to Varone, who skated up the right wing boards and into the Lake Erie zone. When Varone reached the face-off circle, he hit the brakes and made a cross-ice pass to a streaking Crawford, who took the pass and ripped a low slap-shot that beat Aittokallio just inside the right post. The goal was Crawford’s fifth of the season, while Varone picked up his team-leading 58th point of the year.
Later in the period, Lake Erie evened things up with a power play goal of its own with just under two minutes remaining. After winning a face-off in the Rochester zone to start the man-advantage opportunity, the Monsters worked the puck across the blue line and Karl Stollery blasted a slap shot from the point that was kicked aside by Guggenberger, but the rebound bounced over to Agozzino, who had half the net to shoot at and buried the rebound for the equalizer.
After the first period ended with the game tied at one apiece, the second and third periods would develop into a goaltending duel, as both Guggenberger and Aittokallio stopped every shot sent their way through the final two periods and overtime. Guggenberger was especially busy, stopping 29 shots over the last 45 minutes of action, including 19 in the third period alone.
When nothing was decided in overtime, the game headed to a shootout, where it took 10 rounds before Desbiens scored to secure the victory for Lake Erie.
The Amerks finish off a three-game road swing on Wednesday, April 16 when they travel to Utica to close out the season series with the first-year Comets at Utica Memorial Auditorium. The 7:00 game, which will be the 10th meeting between the North Division rivals this season, can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK.