(Allentown, PA) – The Rochester Americans (9-14-0-1) fell behind early in Saturday’s matchup with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (17-7-1-0) and were never able to recover as they dropped a 4-2 contest in the second of back-to-back meetings against the Phantoms at PPL Center.
First-year pro Eric Cornel notched his first career multi-point game as he registered his fourth goal of the season and added an assist on Alexander Nylander’s first-period tally. Nylander’s marker was his fifth of the campaign. Mac Bennett, Cal O’Reilly and Cole Schneider each picked an assist while goaltender John Muse made his third start of the season for the Amerks. The veteran netminder made 31 saves but suffered the loss and now shows a record of 1-2-0 on the season.
Lehigh Valley was led by Jordan Weal (1+1), Danick Martel (0+2) and rookie Nicolas Aube-Kubel (1+1) as each turned in a multi-point effort in the victory. Former Amerk T.J. Brennan closed out the scoring for the Phantoms as first-year goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced to improve his record to 9-5-1 in his second straight start in as many nights against the Amerks.
Rochester allowed a pair of tallies less than five minutes into the contest as Aube-Kubel and Radel Fazleev each found the back of the net.
Down by two goals, the Amerks were able to gain momentum following a Phantoms penalty as Nylander redirected a shot on the doorstep past Lyon with 13:47 left in the opening stanza.
The two teams traded chances over the remaining parts of the opening period, but the Amerks would go into the break trailing 2-1.
Lehigh Valley was able to regain its two-goal lead when Weal found some room over the glove side of Muse and fired the puck into the net just 3:27 into the frame.
But much like the first period, Rochester would not go away quietly, as Cornel beat Lyon with 8:04 left in the middle frame to move the Amerks back to within a score. Moments after serving an interference penalty, Cornel raced into the offensive zone and received a cross-ice pass from O’Reilly before using a well-placed wrist shot to beat Lyon.
The two clubs tightened up defensively for the remainder of the period and into the final 20 minutes of play, but neither could find any offensive pressure until the Amerks were whistled for a delay of game penalty with less than five minutes left.
With Rochester shorthanded, the Phantoms used quick puck movement until Brennan walked in from the point and fired a shot towards Muse. It appeared that Muse made the initial save, but the puck trickled into the back of the net with 3:51 left in regulation, ending any chance of a comeback for the Amerks.
The Amerks put the finishing touches on their three-game trek through the Keystone State on Sunday, Dec. 11 as they take on the Hershey Bears in a battle of the AHL’s two oldest teams at Giant Center. The 5:00 p.m. matchup will be the 453rd all-time meeting between the league’s oldest franchises and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Nylander (5), Cornel (4)
LV: Aube-Kubel (4), Razleev (2), Weal (10), Brennan (8)
RCH: Muse – 31/35 (L)
LV: Lyon – 25/27 (W)
RCH: PP (0/3) / PK (4/5)
LV: PP (1/5) / PK (3/3)