AMERKS TAKE DOWN MONSTERS TO RING IN NEW YEAR
Comrie stops 33-of-34 in season debut, Rousek extends point streak in 3-1 win over first-place ClevelandJan 5, 2024
A pair of goals 63 seconds apart in the second period propelled the Rochester Americans (15-12-2-1) to a 3-1 victory over the first-place Cleveland Monsters (22-9-1-0) in their first game of the New Year Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
The win, Rochester’s third in the last five games, was the club’s first in regulation on home ice since Nov. 10. Ahead of Saturday’s rematch, the Amerks have earned a pair of victories through the first four games against Cleveland while also boasting a 41-21-6-4 record over the last 10 years dating back to the start of the 2011-12 campaign versus the Monsters.
Forwards Brendan Warren and Viktor Neuchev both netted their third goals of the campaign in the first and second periods, respectively, while Mason Jobst completed the scoring with his eighth. Lukas Rousek pushed his point streak to a career-best seven games as he added an assist as did Brandon Biro, Isak Rosen and Nikita Novikov.
Goaltender Eric Comrie (1-0-0) made his season debut with the Amerks after being assigned to the team earlier in the week from the Buffalo Sabres. The Edmonton, Alberta, native turned aside 33 of the 34 shots he faced, which included 10 during each of the final two periods.
Owen Sillinger scored his sixth of the campaign from Carson Meyer and Trey Fix-Wolansky in the second period. Netminder Jet Greaves (16-4-0) saw his nine-game win streak halted as he suffered the defeat despite making 26 saves.
Following the first period where both teams traded goals, the Amerks scored twice in 63 seconds to grab a 3-1 lead at the 7:49 mark.
Moments prior, Novikov nearly netted his first AHL goal past Greaves as he found himself all alone but was turned aside on the backhand as the Amerks were on the penalty kill.
Seconds after his penalty expired, Jobst received Rousek’s one-touch pass atop the face-off circles inside the Monsters zone and continued on a breakaway. As the Ohio State product reached the crease, he deked before tucking a shot inside the left post and past the outstretched leg of Greaves with 13:14 left in the period.
On the ensuing shift, Novikov provided an outlet pass through the center-ice logo ahead to Rosen. The Swedish forward pinched along the wall before sending in Neuchev for another spectacular finish as thew rookie forward roofed a backhander just under the crossbar to give the Amerks their largest lead of the night.
Rochester, which successfully cleared three penalties in the second period, took the two-goal advantage into the intermission break.
The Monsters outshot the Amerks 10-6 over the final 20 minutes of regulation but were unable to chip into the deficit as the final horn sounded.
Less than six minutes into the first period, Jacob Bryson dug the puck out of the corner before providing it to his defensive partner Kale Clague. The latter spotted Warren outside the blueline as he was stationed in front of the penalty box. Warren dumped puck in-behind Greaves before intercepting the netminder’s errant clearing pass and snapping it to the upper corner just 5:28 into the contest.
Cleveland responded 12:13 later to even the game at one before Rochester chipped in two more in the second period to complete the 3-1 score.
The Amerks look to complete the two-game sweep over the Monsters as the home-and-home series shifts to Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Saturday, Jan. 6. Game time is slated for a 7:00 p.m. start 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 primary assist on Mason Jobst’s second-period goal, Lukas Rousek pushed his point streak to a career-high seven games, over which he’s recorded eight points on three goals and five assists … Rookie Nikita Novikov posted his 11th assist of the campaign, which is tied for 19th amongst all AHL first-year defensemen … Of Brendan Warren’s three goals in 2023-24, two have been on home ice and both have come against the Monsters.
CLE: O. Sillinger (6)
ROC: B. Warren (3), M. Jobst (8), V. Neuchev (3)
CLE: J. Greaves – 23/26 (L)
ROC: E. Comrie – 33/34 (W)
CLE: PP (1/6) | PK (3/3)
ROC: PP (0/3) | PK (5/6)
1. ROC - E. Comrie
2. ROC - M. Jobst
3. ROC - B. Warren