The Rochester Americans continued on Friday night what they’ve been doing over the past two months, proving they’re capable of competing with the best teams in the league.Â They did that earlier tonight with a 3-2 win over the Hershey Bears who are the number one team in the Eastern Conference.
Benoit Groulx with the plan to resist and hang in there as much as they could.Â The team did just that and it paid off.
The Hershey Bears are the highest scoring team in the league, compared to the Rochester Americans who prior to the game tonight were the lowest scoring team in the league.Â The three goals scored by the Amerks helped them gain ground and get them tied with the Springfield Falcons at 127 goals for this season.
The fact that the team has climbed out of last place in the league as well as no longer being the lowest scoring team are not necessarily things to be happy about, but given the way the season started it’s a great sign that the team is developing nicely.
“They were very focused, they might have took us lightly a month ago but that’s not the case anymore.Â I think they realized that if they don’t show up against us they’ll be in trouble.Â They’re in the middle of the race in their division to win the championship,” was one of the comments given by Benoit Groulx after the game.
A team in the race to win not only the division but conference championship was defeated by the Amerks.Â Let’s enjoy this win for at least the next 12 hours before the Amerks play in Toronto on Saturday against a team they have not won against all season.
When a game is competitive it comes down to the bounces.Â The Amerks had the bounces tonight and pulled out the victory.Â To say it’s about the bounces means that both teams are playing a great and it’s going to take a lucky bounce of some sort for either team and find a way to make it count.
Stefan Meyer scored the first goal of the game for the Amerks at 9:56 of the first period when he tipped in a shot by Jason Garrison from the point.Â Just prior to the goal, Janis Sprukts had gone in on a breakway against Bears goaltender Daren Machesney but was denied as he tried to squeeze the puck through the five hole.
There was no scoring in the second period, but the game continued to be a battle as both teams skated hard working on the puck.
Hershey took a one goal lead when Chris Bourque scored a power play goal only a minute and 53 seconds into the third period.Â Keith Aucoin passed the puck cross ice to Bourque and got it past Brodeur.Â The Bears went on the power play when Rory Fitzpatrick took a rare undisciplined slashing penalty.
Shortly after that it seemed as if the Amerks had taken an early bus to Toronto.
Benoit Groulx agreed stating, “One of those games that you feel at a certain point that you’re not going to get this one and it turns around quickly and you find a way to win it.”
That turnaround happened in a quick 48 seconds when Mike Duco tied the game at 16:21 of the third period followed by Stefan Meyer who scored the game winning goal with only 2:51 to play.
Mike Duco was on the starting line for the game and started it out by throwing two huge checks showing he was ready to go.Â Duco has been a fan favorite and shown night after night that he doesn’t quit.
I’d love to see a replay of his goal because from what I saw it appeared as if he was being taken down to the ice at which point he shot the puck through his legs and beat the Bears goaltender.
Stefan Meyer scored his 14th goal of the season only 48 seconds later when he was by himself one on one and beat Daren Machesney yet again for the game winning goal.Â Machesney sat on the ice in disbelief after the goal.
Goaltending was a factor in the game as expected.Â Mike Brodeur played an excellent game stopping 27 shots.Â At the opposite end of the ice Machesney stopped 15 of 18 shots that he faced.
“We found a way to win and it’s fun because even though we didnt play our best game O think we deserved it.Â Hershey was the better team on the ice and we found a way to hang in there, tie it, and win it. It’s awesome for me.”
The Amerks will be on the road on Saturday when they play in Toronto against the Toronto Marlies, game time is at 4:05pm.Â Tyler Plante will be getting the start in net for the Amerks.