KULICH SCORES TWICE IN 4-2 LOSS TO SENATORS
Kulich continues torrid start to season, Levi makes 24 saves in second straight startDec 2, 2023
Forwards Jiri Kulich (2+0) and Lukas Rousek (0+2) both recorded multi-point performances, but the Rochester Americans (11-6-2-0) were double upped by a 4-2 score in Saturday’s rematch against the Belleville Senators (8-8-1-2) at CAA Arena.
Despite the defeat, the Amerks, who show a 4-2-0-0 record over their last six contests, split the two-game series with the Senators following last night’s 3-2 shootout win. The Amerks sit in third place in the North Division standings, two points behind Syracuse and three away from Cleveland, who currently leads the division.
While Kulich and Rousek both found the scoresheet, Kale Clague and Linus Weissbach added an assist in the contest during the first and second periods, respectively. Rookie goaltender Devon Levi (1-1-0) made 30 saves in the defeat while making his second straight appearance of the weekend.
First-year forward Zack Ostapchuk notched his first two-goal outing while Garrett Pilon produced a pair of helpers in the win. Egor Sokolov and Roby Jarventie each scored for Belleville. Goaltender Kevin Mandolese (1-2-1) earned his first win of the season as he turned aside 22 of 24 in the contest.
As the final seconds of the second stanza were ticking down and the score even at 2-2, Dillon Heatherington fired a shot from the left point towards the net. Levi made the initial save, however, the rebound popped free by his leg for Jarventie to gather and slip inside the post to give the Senators the 3-2 lead.
In the third period, the Amerks had a chance to tie the score, but the breakaway attempt was denied less than four minutes into the frame.
Belleville used the momentum after the save as Jiri Smejkal lobbed the puck from the center-ice logo down inside the Amerks end of the ice. Pillon raced down the wall and retrieved the pass before centering it in-between the dots for Ostapchuk to snap over the shoulder of Levi.
Trailing by a pair of goals with just over three minutes left in regulation, Rochester drew a slashing infraction and pulled Levi for an extra skater. Despite the attempt, the Amerks were unable to mount a comeback as the clock expired.
After successfully killing off a pair of penalties in the opening 10 minutes, the visitors gained a pair of power-plays in the second half of the frame.
On its second man-advantage of the stanza, Michael Mersch nearly redirected Rousek’s cross-crease pass only to have his stick snap to the right of Mandolese. Kulich grabbed the puck and moved it toward the high slot to Clague before repositioning himself in the face-off dot. The defenseman then provided Kulich a one-time feed to blast behind the netminder at the 17:29 mark.
During the middle period, the Amerks were whistled for a holding penalty. Belleville utilized less than 50 seconds before evening the score at 1-1 as Sokolov hammered a one-time feed from Maxence Guenette.
Shortly after Sokolov’s fourth of the season, Ostapchuk fired a long-range from the right face-off dot to give the Senators a 2-1 lead with his first of two on the night.
Rochester responded immediately as Weissbach held the puck atop the offensive zone. The Swedish forward took a stride towards the center of the ice before he and Rousek combined for a tic-tac-toe, back-door feed for Kulich at the 13:27 mark.
Belleville restored its lead late in the second period before adding one more during the final frame to cap off the 4-2 score.
The Amerks step away from North Division opponents as they kick off a four-game stretch against the Atlantic Division beginning on Friday, Dec. 8 when the Charlotte Checkers return to The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Jiri Kulich’s two-goal outing served as his sixth multi-point outing of the campaign and third multi-goal game of the season ... Linus Weissbach extended his point streak to three straight contests … Lukas Rousek became the third different Amerks skater this season to reach double figures in assists (10) as he recorded two helpers … Since returning from his recall with the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 17, Rousek has seven points (1+6) in his last six games and a pair of two-assists outings over that span … Kale Clague notched an assist in the first period, his 11th of the slate … Clague is tied for 10th in the league amongst all defensemen in assists while his 12 points are tied for 17th.
ROC: J. Kulich (12, 13)
BEL: E. Sokolov (4), Z. Ostapchuk (4,5), R. Jarventie (3)
ROC: D. Levi – 30/34 (L)
BEL: K. Mandolese – 22/24 (W)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (4/5)
BEL: PP (1/5) | PK (3/4)
1. BEL - Z. Ostapchuk
2. BEL - R. Jarventie
3. BEL - E. Sokolov