AMERKS DROP SECOND STRAIGHT TO CHECKERS
Murray scores team-leading 14th goal of the season, Kulich records two assists in 5-3 loss to CharlotteJan 28, 2023
The Rochester Americans (20-16-2-1) carried a one-goal lead into the third period but were unable to hold it as the Charlotte Checkers (23-15-2-2) stormed back with a three-goal third period to escape with a 5-3 win Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena.
GAME SUMMARY PHOTO GALLERY POST-GAME REPORT
With the loss, the Checkers and Amerks split the four-game season series evenly with the visiting emerging victorious each time. By Rochester earning two wins, it marked the first time since the 2017-18 campaign that team had multiple wins versus Charlotte.
Rookie forward Jiri Kulich (0+2) posted his fifth multi-point effort of the season and second in the last three games while Brett Murray, Anders Bjork, and Mason Jobst all scored for Rochester. Ethan Prow and Lukas Rousek both chipped in an assist to wrap up the scoring.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban (10-6-1) made his 17th appearance of the slate but suffered his second consecutive loss despite making 35 saves, which included all 17 he faced in the first period. The netminder boasts a 10-5-1 in his last 16 starts since enduring a defeat in his season-debut on Nov. 18.
Former Amerk Zac Dalpe (1+1), Aleski Heponiemi (1+1), and Grigori Deniseko (0+2), recently back from an NHL call-up with Florida, all tallied two points each for Charlotte, who have points in six of its last seven games dating back to Jan. 14. Connor Bunnaman scored for the third straight game and fourth in the last five while Justin Sourdif and Calle Sjalin both scored. Sjalin’s marker served as the first of his AHL career.
In his first appearance in the AHL since April 23, 2022, netminder Cam Johnson earned his first victory of the season with a 20-save effort.
With Rochester leading 3-2 entering the final frame, Charlotte drew a tripping infraction 5:34 into the period.
Denisenko helped keep puck inside the offensive zone before handing it to Heponiemi below the face-off dot to the left of Subban. Heponiemi had his back to the cage before sending a nifty no-look backhander to Dalpe, who hammered it home to even the score at three.
Less than three minutes later, Charlotte dumped the puck into the Amerks end of the ice. Despite an attempt to rim the puck around the back of the net, Denisenko intercepted it and centered it atop the goal crease. Sourdif found himself alone with the puck in front of Subban and snapped it past the netminder for his sixth of the year.
The Amerks tried to stage a late comeback by pulling Subban as the clock dwindled under the two-minute mark, however, Sjalin sealed the 5-3 victory after converting 200-foot shot into the vacated net from behind his own goal-line.
In the opening period, Rochester could not have had a better start as they drew a slashing penalty and capitalized on the ensuing man-advantage.
Nearly 40 seconds into the power-play, Prow tracked down a loose puck before exchanging passes with Vinnie Hinostroza. Following the return pass, Prow gave the puck to Kulich at the left point. The rookie wired a shot towards Johnson that Murray was able to redirect in to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.
The power-play goal was Murray’s team-leading 14th goal of the season and snapped a season-long seven-game scoring drought. He is now within one goal of tying the career-best 15 he scored last season.
While the Amerks took a 1-0 lead into intermission break, the clubs exchanged a pair of goals in the second period.
Rochester saw its one-goal lead dissolve into a 2-1 deficit, but Bjork and Jobst scored 1:09 apart to restore the lead going into final 20 minutes of play.
On the first of the two Amerks tallies, Bjork grabbed possession of the puck near the left circle of Subban. The Wisconsin native accelerated up the ice with Hinostroza and Rousek. As the trio reached the blueline, Bjork and Rousek exchanged a give-and-go pass. On the return feed, Bjork picked the upper corner to even the score at two.
Following Bjork’s seventh of the season, Kulich picked up a loose puck atop the Amerks blueline. The rookie turned up the ice and sprinted through the neutral zone alongside Jobst. Prior to Kulich reaching the hashmarks, he calmly slid a pass for Jobst to wire past the glove of Johnson.
Over his last three games, Kulich has recorded a pair of two-assist games while Jobst has six points (4+2) in his previous seven outings.
The Amerks open the month of February north of the border with a pair of contests against the Belleville Senators, beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Feb. 2 at CAA Arena. All the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
With their goals in the second period, Anders Bjork has produced nine points (3+6) in his last nine games while Mason Jobst has six points (4+2) in his previous seven outings ... Jobst’s goal was his fourth in five games, giving him a total of five points (4+1) over that span ... He’s now within one point of reaching the 20-point mark for the first time in his pro career.
CLT: A. Heponiemi (8), C. Bunnaman (9), Z. Dalpe (11), J. Sourdif (6), C. Sjalin (1)
ROC: B. Murray (14), A. Bjork (7), M. Jobst (7)
CLT: C. Johnson – 20/23 (W)
ROC: M. Subban – 35/39 (L)
CLT: PP (2/3) | PK (1/2)
ROC: PP (1/2) | PK (1/3)
1. CLT - Z. Dalpe
2. CLT - G. Denisenko
3. CLT - A. Heponiemi