COMRIE PERFECT AS AMERKS SCARE OFF PHANTOMS
Comrie stops all 32 shots he faced, Rousek extends point streak to 11 games in 6-0 blanking of Lehigh ValleyJan 18, 2024
Brandon Biro scored 91 seconds into the opening period and Eric Comrie turned in a flawless 32-save effort as the Rochester Americans (17-13-3-1) cruised to a dominating 6-0 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (16-14-5-1) Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
At least 13 different players recorded a point in the win for the Amerks, who improved to 5-1-1-0 against Lehigh Valley inside the Flower City dating back to the 2018-19 campaign while also splitting the 2023-24 season-series. The shutout was Rochester’s first against the Phantoms organization since they blanked Adirondack on Feb. 24, 2012. Additionally, it marked the Amerks’ first at home since Mar. 15, 2023, when they shut out Laval.
Forwards Tyson Kozak and Viktor Neuchev both tallied a goal and an assist while Aleksandr Kisakov recorded a pair of assists as all three earned a multi-point game. Biro (1+1) and Mason Jobst (1+1) also produced a pair of points for Rochester, which has points in five of its last six games dating back to Dec. 30.
Linus Weissbach and Brett Murray both scored a goal while Jeremy Davies, Lukas Rousek, Isak Rosen, Zach Metsa, Jiri Kulich, and Michael Mersch all chipped in an assist.
By way of Rousek’s assist, he pushed his point streak to 11 straight games, which is a career-best and longest active streak in the AHL, while Neuchev has a point in five consecutive contests.
Goaltender Eric Comrie (2-1-0) earned his first AHL shutout since April 24, 2021, as he stopped all 32 shots he faced, which included 12 in each of the first two periods. In each of his three appearances with the Amerks, the Edmonton, Alberta, native made 32 or more saves.
Rhett Gardner registered a game-high four shots for Lehigh Valley, which entered the contest 3-0-1-0 in its previous four games. Netminder Felix Sandstrom (6-4-2) made his 13th appearance of the season but suffered the defeat.
Less than 90 seconds into the first period, Davies was tripped as he skated towards the Phantoms net. On the delayed penalty, the puck rolled to the top of the point where Biro and Metsa traded passes before Biro snapped a shot past a screened Sandstrom at the 1:31 mark.
Just about 10 minutes following Biro’s 11th of the season, the Penn State product nearly posted his second of the period as he corralled a loose puck inside the offensive zone but saw his attempt just miss the net. He retrieved his own rebound by pushing it to Rousek, who centered it to Murray just in-front of the goal crease. Murray patiently gathered the feed and slipped a shot underneath the pads to double the score.
Rochester carried the 2-0 lead into the room despite being outshot 12-8 and having taken three penalties.
During the second stanza, moments after Comrie made a few Grade-A stops in-front of his crease on Garrett Wilson, Rochester pushed its lead 3-0.
Following a face-off to the left of Lehigh Valley’s net, Nikita Novikov knocked down a Phantom in the neutral zone. Jobst gathered the loose puck and quickly began a play with Mersch as they gained the Lehigh Valley blueline. The Amerks captain took a stride before allowing Weissbach to step into a shot as he joined the play in transition.
Weissbach’s sixth goal of the season and second in as many games was the only marker in the frame despite the Amerks being unable to capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play for 1:47.
Carrying a 3-0 lead into the final frame, the Amerks doubled the score with three goals in a span of 7:02 as they cruised to the 6-0 win.
Jobst kicked off the sequence as he finished off a power-play feed from Rosen and Kulich at the 12:47 mark.
Kozak and Neuchev both teamed up as they scored their second and fourth goals of the season, respectively, with Kisakov providing an assist on each to complete the scoring.
The Amerks make their way east on Friday, Jan. 19 for a 7:00 p.m. for an intrastate showdown with the Utica Comets at Adirondack Bank Center. The North Division contest is slated for a 7:05 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:
By earning his primary assist on Brett Murray’s goal in the first-period, Lukas Rousek pushed his point streak to a career-high 11 games, over which he has recorded 12 points (3+9) … Rousek's 11-game point streak is the longest active streak in the AHL and the second-longest this season behind only Toronto's Alex Steeves, who recorded a point in 16 straight games between Oct. 22 and Dec. 20 ... Of the 13 games this season where Brandon Biro has had at least one point, he has a team-high nine multi-point efforts … Michael Mersch and Mason Jobst became the fifth and sixth different Amerk skaters to record 20 or more points this season while Zach Metsa was the 13th player to reach double digits in points.