Third Straight Loss, but Difference is Night and Day

The Rochester Americans were shutout and lost their third straight game on Saturday night against the Albany River Rats in Albany as the league enters the All-Star break.  With the All-Star break typically considered the mid way point of the season, one thing is for certain about this Rochester Americans team – the difference is night and day compared to the way they started.

Getting back to last nights game, the deciding factor was the first period when the team just couldn’t get any offense generated.  The Rats took advantage of that and was able to score two goals.  The first one that deflected in wasn’t good, but that’s the type of bounces teams look for to be able to win games.  The second power play goal for the Rats was something they should have been able to stop from reaching the net.

“We played hard, very happy with the effort, very disappointing weekend in terms of the the outcome, thought we deserved better today and last night, but a bad game on thursday,” commented Benoit Groulx after the game.

The Amerks continue to struggle on the power play, going 0 for 5 on Saturday night.

Asked Groulx about the power play and he said, “We don’t recover the puck down low, we don’t install the play, takes momentum away from your game and when your not scoring goals on the power play it’s tough to be competitive and win games on the road.”

Groulx did try something different with about seven minutes left in the third period and the Amerks on the power play he pulled Chris Beckford-Tseu to get an extra skater on the ice making it 6 on 4.

“We wanted to show them with the score 3-0 that the games not over and we still believe we can win this game, and we tried something,” said Groulx.

As we noted in the live game post, even though the loss gets marked against Beckford-Tseu, the game should not be all on him.  If the offense can’t score, the team can’t win games.

I should rephrase that, seems that if Janis Sprukts can’t score goals the team can’t win games.

Anyone who has followed this team from the start of the season knows that the difference is night and day from back in early October.

“Even though we lost we competed hard, it’s a total different team, guys are playing much better and defense is getting better.  It’s a grind, it’s a challenge and every day and we’re building from it,” Benoit Groulx said.

It’s already been covered that the Florida Panthers did a poor job building a competitive team, but the way the season has progressed speaks volumes about the work ethic of many of the players on the team.

The team gives a solid effort in an overwhelming majority of the games and has a solid work ethic, something that could not be said last season.

Before leaving the locker room for the All-Star break the coaches told the team, “get your mind out of hockey, relax, enjoy it have fun and lets come back and we want to be very competitive.”

A very competitive second half of the season would be an excellent story about coming back from hitting rock bottom at the start of the season.

An even better story would be that the Panthers as well as Amerks management has learned a lot and converts everything learned into action throughout the summer of 2009.