AMERKS COME UP SHORT IN 3-2 LOSS TO PHANTOMS
Comrie makes third straight start, Rousek extends point streak to five gamesJan 6, 2023
The Rochester Americans (17-11-1-1) took a 1-0 lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (15-13-2-1) but suffered a 3-2 setback Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
Despite the loss, Rochester, whose last back-to-back regulation home losses came on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9, is tied for second in the North Division with 36 points, six points behind the Toronto Marlies.
Forward Lukas Rousek pushed his point streak (3+3) to a career-best five games as he opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season. Anders Bjork netted his fifth goal of the season while Brett Murray, Linus Weissbach, and Ethan Prow all logged an assist. Prow, who appeared in his 100th career game as an Amerk, was credited with his four helper in the last five contests.
Goaltender Eric Comrie (1-2-0) made his third straight start of his conditioning assignment from the parent Buffalo Sabres. Despite stopping 21 shots, he dropped his second straight in regulation. The netminder had not lost back-to-back games since Feb. 20 and Feb. 22, 2019.
Tyson Foerster, Bobby Brink and Jackson Cates all scored as part of a three-goal third period for Lehigh Valley, who swept the season series with a 2-0-0-0 mark. Goaltender Felix Sandstrom (1-0-0) stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced in his first game of his conditioning stint from Philadelphia Flyers.
Carrying a 1-0 lead into the final 20 minutes of regulation, Rochester had a chance to double its lead early in frame, however, the opportunity was unsuccessful as Adam Brooks stripped an Amerk of the puck.
Brooks scooped up the puck and fed Egor Zamula in transition out of the zone. Zamula carried it through the neutral zone and after gaining the Amerks blueline, he slid a pass back across the grain for Brink and the latter beat Comrie to even the score at 1-1.
Just 1:18 following Brink’s first pro goal, Olle Lycksell forced a turnover behind Comrie and centered a pass for Foerster. While Forerster’s initial attempt was denied by the goaltender, he gathered the rebound and slipped it into the back of the net at the 3:48 mark.
The Amerks responded less than 90 seconds later as Bjork hammered home a one-time feed from Weissbach and Prow.
With the marker, Bjork shows 11 points (5+6) in 23 AHL games this season, a new AHL career-high.
By earning the primary assist, Weissbach pushed his point streak to a personal-best four games. Overall, he has tallied 13 points (6+7) over his last 15 outings dating back to Nov. 23.
The score did not stay tied at 2-2 for long as Cates restored the Phantoms’ lead 49 seconds following Bjork’s goal as he grabbed his own rebound out in-front of Comrie.
The forward fired a shot from the right of the net and as bodies crashed the goal mouth, Cates controlled it and tucked it inside the left post with 14:00 minutes to play in the third.
The Amerks drew a pair of power-plays later in the frame and despite pulling Comrie, the club could not find the equalizer and dropped a 3-2 score.
Following a scoreless opening 20 minutes of play, the Amerks opened the scoring 13:25 into the middle period.
Moments after being denied to the right of Sandstrom, Murray intercepted a pass in the center of the ice. The Bolton, Ontario, native gathered the puck and backhanded a pass to send Rousek into the offensive zone as he split the Phantoms defense pair. Rousek raced towards the Lehigh Valley netminder and snapped a shot through his legs to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.
Lehigh Valley outscored Rochester 3-1 in the final period to earn the victory and complete the two-game sweep.
The Amerks look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 7:00 p.m. as they faceoff with the Syracuse Crunch. All of the action from Upstate Medical University Arena will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
With his goal tonight, Lukas Rousek became the third Amerk this season to reach the 10-goal mark, joining Brett Murray and Linus Weissbach ... By picking up the lone assist on Rousek’s second-period goal, Murray has posted nine points (4+5) in his last nine games. He needs one more point to reach 100 for his AHL career ... Anders Bjork’s third-period goal snapped a 10-game goal-scoring drought, giving him three points (1+2) over his last five games.
LV: B. Brink (1), T. Foerster (9), J. Cates (6)
ROC: L. Rousek (10), A. Bjork (5)
LV: F. Sandstrom – 24/26 (W)
ROC: E. Comrie – 21/24 (L)
LV: PP (0/1) | PK (3/3)
ROC: PP (0/3) | PK (1/1)
1. LV - J. Cates
2. ROC - L. Rousek
3. LV - B. Brink