Giroux scores twice, Mersch records 200th AHL assist in 4-3 shootout loss to Thunderbirds

Dec 13, 2023

Damien Giroux’s second goal of the night tied the contest at 3-3 and ultimately forced overtime, but the Rochester Americans (11-7-2-1) settled for a single point as they suffered a 4-3 shootout loss to former Amerk Malcolm Subban and the Springfield Thunderbirds (13-8-2-0) Wednesday at MassMutual Center.



                                                                          GAME SUMMARY      PHOTO GALLERY


Despite the shootout defeat, Rochester shows a 2-2-2 record in the last seven seasons on the road in Springfield. Additionally, the Amerks have earned points in back-to-back road games in Massachusetts for the first time since the 2019-20 campaign after picking up a 7-1 win in the season-series finale between the two clubs last season. Rochester sits in third place in the North Division standings, three points behind Syracuse and four away from Cleveland, who lead the division with 29 points.


Giroux (2+0) produced his first multi-goal outing as an Amerk while Michael Mersch added a pair of assists, including the 200th of his AHL career. Jeremy Davies opened the scoring as Joseph Cecconi, Mason Jobst and Nikita Novikov all logged an assist in the contest.


Goaltender Devin Cooley (4-2-2) made 38 saves in the defeat while also stopping two of three in the shootout. Cooley faced 29 shots through the first two periods before seeing six in both the third and overtime frames.



Adam Gaudette (1+1), Dylan Coghlan (1+1) and Matthew Peca (0+2) all totaled two points each for Springfield, which played in its first shootout since Mar. 19, 2022. Will Bitten scored his fifth goal of the slate to wrap up the scoring. Subban (5-5-2) evened his record while making 20 saves, which included all three in the skills competition.


Facing a 3-2 deficit to start the final frame, the Amerks forced the Thunderbirds into an icing infraction.


On the ensuing face-off win by Jobst, Mersch shoveled it to the left point for Novikov four minutes into stanza. The rookie blueliner fired a shot towards Subban, but prior the puck reaching the net, Giroux steered it in behind the unsuspecting netminder, evening the score at 3-3.


Less than two minutes later, Rochester drew a cross-checking penalty and appeared to reclaim its lead as Jobst crashed the crease. The backdoor feed caromed off the forward and into the back of the net only to have the goal waved off.



During the final 12:10, neither club could solve the opposition’s netminder as the score remained knotted at three.


In the overtime frame, Springfield recorded six shots to Rochester’s one, but the shootout was required.


The Thunderbirds elected to shoot first in the skills competition and only Ryan Suzuki’s attempt was successful as he neatly tucked a shot over Cooley’s shoulder for the only good conversion.


Brandon Biro, Filip Cederqvist, and Jiri Kulich all tried to help the Amerks earn the extra point, but their former teammate denied the attempt while Cooley stopped Gaudette and Peca.



Moments into the first period, all five Amerks touched the puck before Davies, who started the play, scored his fourth goal of the season.


Davies sent a pass to his fellow defense parent in Cecconi. The latter quicky snapped the puck up the length of the ice for Mersch, who bunted it to Jobst. As the Ohio State University product powered his way towards Subban, the puck was cleared into the skates to Cecconi before Davies finished off the play 47 seconds into the contest with a blast to the upper corner.


Nearly 2:30 later, the Amerks doubled their lead as Novikov began a play inside the Rochester blueline. The rookie defenseman carried the puck up the ice and had his dump attempt carom off the boards. After Mersch gained possession at the left corner, the Amerks captain circled the net before Giroux stuffed it across the goal-line at the 17:23 mark.


As the period was in its final minute, the Thunderbirds won a face-off to the right of Cooley before Peca connected with Gaudette on a back-door feed. Rochester’s netminder got a piece of the puck but it snuck between his left arm and body before trickling into the goal to trim the lead.



The home team rode the energy from Gaudette’s late goal and eventually tied the contest at 2-2 midway through the second period.


While unable to steer in another backdoor feed, Springfield stayed with the puck as Gaudette centered it in-between the face-off dots. With traffic in front of the Amerks net, Coghlan fired a shot past the glove hand for his eighth of the season.


Prior to the end of the stanza, both clubs were whistled for penalties, resulting in four-on-four for 1:04 with just under two minutes to play.


On the shift after the Springfield infraction, Abramov carried the puck up the ice and down the right wall. As the forward approached the corner, he passed it back for Coghlan atop the right point. Before the puck reached Cooley, Bitten redirected it over the shoulder to give the Thunderbirds their first lead of the contest.



Rochester tied the contest early in the third to force overtime, but Springfield secured the extra point with the 4-3 win in the shootout.


The Amerks continue their week-long trek through the Atlantic Division on Friday, Dec. 15 at XL Center against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the first of two scheduled meetings between the two teams and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.


Stars and Stripes:

With his two assists tonight, including the 200th of his AHL career, Michael Mersch (0+2) has four points (1+3) in his last three games ... Joseph Cecconi earned his first point of the season with a helper on Jeremy Davies’ goal … Damien Giroux’s two-goal performance was his first since Dec. 28, 2022 as he tallied three points (2+1) as a member of the Iowa Wild … Nikita Novikov logged his ninth assist of the season, which is tied for third amongst all AHL rookie defensemen.


Goal Scorers

ROC: J. Davies (4), D. Giroux (3, 4)

SPR: A. Gaudette (14), D. Coghlan (8), W. Bitten (5)



ROC: D. Cooley – 38/41 (OTL)

SPR: M. Subban – 17/20 (W)



ROC: 20

SPR: 42


Special Teams

ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (1/1)

SPR: PP (0/1) | PK (2/2)


Three Stars:

1. SPR - R. Suzuki

2. SPR - A. Gaudette

3. ROC - D. Giroux

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