SUBBAN’S 41 SAVES POWER AMERKS TO 3-1 WIN OVER ROCKET
Mersch scores twice, Subban extends win streak to seven gamesJan 11, 2023
On the strength of a 41-save performance by goaltender Malcolm Subban and a two-goal effort from captain Michael Mersch, the Rochester Americans (19-11-1-1) defeated the Laval Rocket (13-17-4-1) by a 3-1 score Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the win, the Amerks have claimed two of the first three meetings against the Rocket this season, including the last two get-togethers in which they have outscored Laval 8-2. Rochester remains in third place of the AHL’s North Division standings with 40 points and sit two back of Utica with a game in hand.
After opening the scoring with his sixth goal of the season, Mersch sealed the win as he added an empty-net marker in the third period. The two-goal night gives the Amerks captain six goals and two assists over his last seven games. Linus Weissbach notched his 13th tally of the campaign while Ethan Prow, Chase Priskie and Anders Bjork all picked up an assist in the win, Rochester’s first of the New Year.
Subban (9-2-0), who made his 11th appearance of the season, extended his win streak to seven games, the longest of his professional career. The Toronto, Ontario, native boasts a 9-1-0 record over his last 10 appearances and has topped the 40-save mark on three occasions over that span, including in back-to-back games. Subban is the first Amerks netminder to post a winning streak of seven or more games since former netminder Jonas Johansson won nine consecutive contests during the 2019-20 campaign.
Lucas Condotta scored his ninth goal of the season from Mitchell Stephens and Anthony Richard for Laval, which entered the contest having earned points in eight of its last 11 games. Netminder Kevin Poulin manned the pipes for the 20th time this season and despite stopping 14 of 16 shots he faced, suffered the defeat.
Entering the third period and the score even at one, Prow stepped in-front of an outlet pass in the center of the ice.
The veteran blueliner carried the puck inside the Rocket zone and as he drifted to his left, he sent a cross-ice pass for Weissbach. As the puck reached Weissbach’s stick, the Swede one-timed the offering through the five-hole of Poulin at the 9:41 mark.
The assist by Prow gives him seven points (5+2) dating back to Dec. 28, which includes five (2+3) during a four-game point streak.
In an effort to find the equalizer, Laval pulled Poulin for an extra skater, but all hope was lost when Mersch sealed the 3-1 win into the vacated net with 15 seconds to play.
The two-goal outing by Mersch was his first of the season and first since March 30 of last season. In the six games last season against Laval, the Amerks captain led all Rochester skaters with eight points and had a team-leading five goals.
Early in the opening period, Bjork attempted to send the puck up the wall to Priskie atop the right point.
The puck bounced over the stick of Priskie and down the ice towards the Amerks zone. Priskie gave chase of the Laval skater around the net and forced a turnover.
Bjork gathered the loose puck and sent Priskie and Mersch into the offensive zone on a two-on-one, odd-man rush. Priskie patiently outwaited a Rocket defenseman before letting Mersch rifle in his sixth goal of the campaign at the 18:07 mark.
Despite carrying a 16-2 shot-advantage and trailing 1-0 after the first period, the Rocket continued to shoot the puck at will to start the second.
Four minutes into the second stanza, Laval, which had the first four shots, finally solved Subban as Condotta snuck in a slap-shot inside the left post of the netminder.
Stephens retrieved a Richard pass and skated down the left wall. As Stephens reached the bottom of the face-off dot, he left the puck for Condotta.
The two clubs went into the locker rooms even at 1-1 and with Laval holding a 32-11 lead in shots.
Rochester added a pair of goals in the third period from Weissbach and Mersch to finish the 3-1 victory.
The Amerks remain home ice on Saturday, Jan. 14 when they host the first-place Toronto Marlies at The Blue Cross Arena for a 6:05 p.m. face-off. All of the action will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Isak Rosen (Sweden) and Jiri Kulich (Czechia) both returned to the lineup tonight after representing their respective countries at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship … It was their first game back with the Amerks since Dec. 17 ... With 41 saves tonight, it marks the second straight game and third time in the last six that goaltender Malcolm Subban has topped the 40-save mark ... Anders Bjork’s first-period assist gives him five points (1+4) over his last seven games.
LAV: L. Condotta (9)
ROC: M. Mersch (6, 7), L. Weissbach (13)
LAV: K. Poulin – 14/16 (L)
ROC: M. Subban – 41/42 (W)
LAV: PP (0/2) | PK (1/1)
ROC: PP (0/1) | PK (2/2)
1. ROC – M. Subban
2. ROC – M. Mersch
3. ROC – L. Weissbach