AMERKS CRUISE TO DOMINATING WIN OVER THUNDERBIRDS
Eight players record multi-point outings in 7-1 win over SpringfieldFeb 25, 2023
After falling behind 1-0, the Rochester Americans (25-20-3-1) countered with seven straight unanswered goals, including three on the power-play, on their way to a dominating 7-1 win over the over the Springfield Thunderbirds (25-20-2-4) Saturday at MassMutual Center.
By scoring seven goals tonight, all of which came courtesy of seven different goal-scorers, it’s the most the Amerks have scored against Springfield since the club earned a 7-1 win back on Feb. 8, 2019. With the win, Rochester’s second in as many nights, the club has earned seven out of a possible 10 points in the last five games to remain in fourth place of the AHL’s North Division standings.
The team has also accounted for 15 goals in its last two games following the 8-4 victory over Laval on Friday to begin a busy stretch of six games over a nine-day span.
Isak Rosen (2+1) and Anders Bjork (0+3) each notched three points while Brandon Biro, Jiri Kulich and Lukas Rousek all collected two assists. Jeremy Davies and Brett Murray also turned in a multi-point effort while Michael Mersch (1+0), Joseph Cecconi (1+0) and Lawrence Pilut (0+1) concluded the scoring in the victory.
Goaltender Michael Houser made 39 saves, his most since stopping 40 on April 16, 2016, to improve to 6-5-1 in his 14th appearance of the season. The netminder, who shows a 3-0-1 record over his last four starts, turned aside all 25 shots he faced over the final 40 minutes.
Martin Frk scored his 20th goal of the season in the first period from Dmitrii Samorukov and Matthew Highmore. Goaltenders Joel Hofer (18-13-4) and Vadim Zherenko (7-7-2) combined for 23 saves. Hofer, who shutout the Amerks earlier this season, suffered the defeat. Hofer drew the starting nod before Zherenko entered for the final 32 minutes of regulation.
After the Thunderbirds grabbed a 1-0 lead just 1:28 into the contest, the Amerks drew a boarding and tripping infraction. The club used the man-advantage both times as Mersch and Murray both found the back of the net to flip the deficit into a one-goal cushion after the first period.
On Mersch’s goal, the Amerks captain finished off a loose rebound at the feet of Hofer after Kulich had the initial shot at the 7:54 mark.
Later in the frame, Rochester successfully cleared off a holding penalty before earning its second power-play of the night with under two minutes to play.
The Amerks kept the puck inside the offensive zone after Rosen retrieved Davies’ pass just inside the blueline. The rookie forward patiently waited atop the point then purposely fired a shot wide of the net for Murray to steer into the back of the cage to give Rochester its first lead of the contest.
Murray’s goal from Rosen and Davies with 1:15 was his team-leading 16th of the season, establishing a new career-high for the forward.
Holding a 2-1 advantage to start the second period, the Amerks used the momentum from the opening 20 minutes of play as they scored three times to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
Moments after a Springfield penalty, Pilut provided a long stretch pass from out of the Amerks zone into toward center ice. Biro received the puck and quickly sent Murray and Weissbach across the Thunderbirds blueline. The duo reached the top of the circle and dished a one-time fed for Weissbach to hammer inside the right post at the 2:52 mark.
Five minutes later, Rosen made it 4-1 score as he gathered a loose puck in-between the face-off dots and tucked behind Hofer’s net. As the rookie forward, who has seven multi-point efforts on the campaign, wrapped around the cage, he centered a shot that pinballed its way behind the netminder.
To conclude Rochester’s three-goal period, again the club gained a power-play and capitalized on the extra skater.
Davies carried the puck up the ice before he handed a pass for Rousek inside the offensive zone. Rousek handed Biro a pass while Davies circled around the perimeter of the ice. Biro returned the puck to Davies, who outwaited Hofer before firing a shot past the glove-hand of the goaltender.
Davies now has five points (2+3) over his last five games, which includes goals in back-to-back for the first time this season. Rousek, meanwhile, has one goal and five assists over his last five.
During the final period, Cecconi and Rosen capped off the 7-1 win.
The Amerks look to sweep the three-in-three weekend on Sunday, Feb. 26 as they continue their season-long five-game road swing against the Providence Bruins at Amica Mutual Pavilion. Game time is slated for a 3:05 p.m. start and will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
With three assists tonight, Anders Bjork has four goals and 11 assists since Jan. 6 while Jiri Kulich has 14 points (7+7) in his last 12 games ... Brett Murray established a new career-high with his team-leading 16th goal of the season ... Joseph Cecconi scored his first goal as an Amerk and first since April 3, 2022 ... With the Amerks going 3-for-5 on the power-play tonight, it marked the eighth time this season the club has recorded multiple goals on the man-advantage.
ROC: M. Mersch (12), B. Murray (16), L. Weissbach (15), I. Rosen (7, 8), J. Davies (8), J. Cecconi (1)
SPR: M. Frk (20)
ROC: M. Houser – 39/40 (W)
SPR: J. Hofer – 12/17 (L) | V. Zherenko – 11/13 (ND)
ROC: PP (3/6) | PK (5/5)
SPR: PP (0/5) | PK (3/6)
1. ROC - I. Rosen
2. ROC - M. Houser
3. ROC - A. Bjork