AMERKS SHUTOUT IN CLEVELANDNov 16, 2023
The Rochester Americans (7-4-2-0) were held scoreless for the second straight game, falling 2-0 to the Cleveland Monsters (8-3-1-0) in the first of back-to-back meetings between the two teams Thursday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Despite the defeat, Rochester’s second straight regulation loss, the Amerks boast a 39-20-6-4 record against Cleveland over the last 11 years dating back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign. Additionally, the club has earned at least one point in 28 of the last 43 games overall.
Forward Michael Mersch led all Rochester skaters and matched a season-high four shots on goal as he returned to the lineup after missing the previous four games with an injury. Kale Clague and rookie Zach Metsa both recorded three shots each, which topped the Amerks defense corps. Brandon Biro and Aleksandr Kisakov also returned to lineup as they joined Mersch on a line.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski (2-2-0) made his fourth appearance of the season, and despite making 20 saves, suffered the defeat.
Forwards Brendan Gaunce scored his fourth goal of the season in the second period while Emil Bemstrom, who was assigned to the Monsters earlier in the day from the parent Columbus Blue Jackets, logged his first in the final frame.
Goaltender Jet Greaves (7-2-0) recorded his first shutout of the season and fourth of his AHL career as he stopped all 27 shots he faced, 15 of which came in the second period. The netminder’s seven wins are most in the league this season while he is tied for second in games played (9).
Following a scoreless opening frame and moments after successfully clearing off their first of four second-period penalties, the Monsters used the momentum from the penalty kill to take a 1-0 lead at the 5:58 mark.
Tyler Angle grabbed possession of the puck near the Amerks bench and raced towards Rochester’s zone. As the forward reached the face-off circle, he cut to the middle of the dots and fired a shot. Tokarski was able to get a piece of the puck, however, it glanced off the tip of his glove before Gaunce swatted it out of midair for his fourth of the season.
The Amerks, who outshot the Monsters 15-5 in the period and 22-10 through 40 minutes, were unable to capitalize on a pair of cross-checking penalties as well as a high-sticking infraction as they trailed 1-0 at the break.
Rochester pressed to find the equalizer in the final period, but Cleveland doubled its lead with less than five minutes left in regulation.
After the Amerks were whistled for a tripping infraction, the Monsters kept the puck inside the offensive zone before Bemstrom blasted a one-time feed from Stanislav Svozil and Kent Johnson.
Despite Rochester pulling Tokarski for the extra attacker in an attempt to spoil Greaves’ bid for a shutout, the Monsters were able to hold on for the 2-0 victory.
The Amerks close out their three-game road swing on Saturday, Nov. 18 with a rematch against the Monsters at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse at 7:00 p.m. The North Division showdown will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Stars and Stripes:
It’s the first time since Mar. 18 and 21, 2017 the Amerks have been shutout in back-to-back games ... Tonight marked Rochester’s first shutout in Cleveland since April 24, 2022 ... Riley Stillman appeared in his 100th AHL game tonight.
CLE: B. Gaunce (4), E. Bemstrom (1)
ROC: D. Tokarski – 20/22 (L)
CLE: J. Greaves – 27/27 (W)
ROC: PP (0/5) | PK (2/3)
CLE: PP (1/3) | PK (5/5)
1. CLE - J. Greaves
2. CLE - B. Gaunce
3. CLE - E. Bemstrom