Bjork factors in on both Rochester goals, Mersch extends point streak

Jan 18, 2023

 The Rochester Americans (19-13-1-1) fell behind early on the scoreboard and were never able to recover in what became a 5-2 loss to the Laval Rocket (15-18-4-1) on Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.


                                                   GAME SUMMARY    PHOTO GALLERY    POST-GAME REPORT

Despite the loss, however, the Amerks show a 9-3-0-0 record in the Flower City dating back to the start of the 2017-18 campaign versus the Rocket. Overall, Rochester remains in third place of the North Division with 40 points, four points behind Utica, whom the Amerks have two games in hand on.


Forward Anders Bjork (1+1) notched his second consecutive multi-point game as scored his sixth of the campaign to go with an assist. Rookie forward Tyson Kozak finished off the scoring as he added his third while Mason Jobst, Michael Mersch, and Mitch Eliot, who returned to the lineup after missing the last seven games, all had an assist.


Goaltender Malcolm Subban (9-4-0) made his fourth straight start and ninth in the last 12 games. The netminder, who shows a 9-3-0 mark over that span, made 18 saves.



Laval’s Alex Belzile (2+1), Anthony Richard (1+1) and Peter Abbandonato (0+2) all logged multi-point performances while Gabriel Bourque and Lucas Condotta both scored in the second and third periods, respectively.


Netminder Kevin Poulin earned his second straight win and ninth of the campaign as he turned aside 32 of 34 in his fifth consecutive appearance.


After being denied in the first period on an odd-man rush following a turnover inside the Rochester zone, Laval capitalized on its second grade-A chance of the contest two minutes later to take a 1-0 lead.



The Amerks had a chance to even the score following Belzile’s first tally of the game as they drew a tripping infraction. The opportunity failed as Laval successfully killed off the penalty and maintained its advantage.


The Rocket used the momentum and forced another turnover in the left corner of Subban. After collecting an attempted centering pass, Santino Centorame connected with Bourque to double the lead eight minutes into the contest.



In the middle period, the Amerks were whistled for back-to-back penalties, thus giving the Rocket two man-advantage for 26 seconds.


The Rochester penalty kill unit held off the power-play initially, but after stopping a shot, Subban mistakenly pushed the rebound to Abbandonato atop the crease. The forward dished a one-time pass for Richard in the circle at the 5:02 mark and he blasted it to the top corner.



Laval upped its lead to 4-0 three minutes after Condotta was credited with his 11th marker of campaign, but the Amerks got on the board with 8:19 to play in the frame.


With the puck at the ice-center logo, Mersch dumped it into the offensive zone before he dug it out of the right corner of Poulin. Jobst gathered it and tapped it to Bjork near the bottom of the dot. The Wisconsin native scooped up the pass and skated towards the crease before beating the Rocket netminder by the glove for his sixth of the season.



By earning the primary assist, Mersch has totaled 12 points over his last nine outings dating back to Dec. 17. Jobst, meanwhile, has five points (3+2) in his last four games.


The score remained 4-1 until the final four minutes of regulation as the two teams exchanged goals to close out the 5-2 contest.



The Amerks head to New England for a pair of contests beginning on Friday, Jan. 20 when they close out their season series with the Bridgeport Islanders at Total Mortgage Arena. 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.


Storyline Stripes:

With a goal and assist tonight, forward Anders Bjork has points (2+7) in five straight games to match his AHL career-best ... Defenseman Mitch Eliot recorded an assist in his first game back in the lineup since Dec. 28, giving him points in back-to-back games and six points (2+4) overall on the season ... Forward Mason Jobst needs just two more points to reach the 20-point mark for the first time in his pro career after earning an assist tonight ... Subban made his fourth straight start and ninth in the last 12 games.


Goal Scorers

LAV: A. Belzile (12, 13), G. Bourque (8), A. Richard (19)

ROC:  A. Bjork (6), T. Kozak (3)



LAV:  K. Poulin – 32/34 (W)

ROC:  M. Subban – 18/22 (L)


LAV: 23

ROC:  34


Special Teams

LAV: PP (1/5) | PK (0/3)

ROC:  PP (3/3) | PK (4/5)

Three Stars

1. LAV – A. Belzile
2. LAV – K. Poulin
3. LAV – A. Richard

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