It was close near the end of the third but the Amerks stayed strong on the ice and defeated the Albany River Rats by the final score of 2-1 for their fifth straight win. The last time the Amerks had a winning streak like this was the start of the 2006/2007 season.
The Amerks are back on the ice Saturday night in Syracuse. The Crunch are coming off of a 4-3 win over the Binghamton Senators Friday night. It’ll be an interesting game. Will the Amerks road legs stay strong? Will the Crunch have home ice advantage? Game time is at 7:30pm EST.
Let’s enjoy every minute of this season.
Heading into the game the River Rats were a perfect on the penalty kill, they had not allowed a goal to be scored in 21 power play attempts for the opposition. Chris Taylor ended that streak.
The power play unit of Chris Taylor, Graham Mink, Jeff Taffe, Clay Wilson, and Jason Garrison worked the puck around the Rats zone and tired them out. They did a superb job passing the puck around, taking quick shots when they could and then regaining control.
Jason Garrison took the initial shot, Mink whacked at the rebound, and then Taylor took the second rebound and his shot deflected off the Rats defensemen into the air and dropped into the net behind Justin Peters.
David Brine scored his fourth of the season standing in the slot where he received a great pass from Michal Repik and put the puck low stick side past Peters to give the Amerks a 2-0 lead.
Zack Boychuk got the Rats within one when he scored a power play goal. Mike Caruso was in the penalty box for holding at the time. Alexander Salak was not able to get control of the puck in front of the net when Boychuck was able to put it past him.
With less than a minute to go and the River Rats net empty the Amerks had a chance to score an empty netter but missed. The puck was still in the Rats zone when Bryan Rodney looked at the net and lifted it off the pegs causing a whistle. Referee Mark Lemelin was standing right next to him and did not make the call.
With time winding down the Rats were able to get the puck and rush towards the Amerks zone and with 2 seconds left on the clock Alexander Salak was able to hold on to the puck. The Rats celebrated as they thought they scored but it was quickly waived off by Lemelin.
A few other game notes/thoughts:
** Alexander Salak had another stellar performance in net. He makes some amazing saves and does not give up that many rebounds.
** For the second straight game the opposition was called for goaltender interference. Friday night it was Brandon Sutter for the Rats crashing into Salak. At least this time the rest of the team on the ice was right on top of the situation.
** Jimmy Bonneau squared off with Benn Olson at 15:30 of the second period for a relatively uneventful fight. I’d call the fight a draw.
** Luke Beaverson appeared to do what he could on every shift he was given on defense. At one point he strong armed Drayson Bowman as he tried to skate across the blue line and sent Bowman onto his back. With Fitzpatrick out injured it comes down to either Peter Aston or Beaverson to play the role of sixth defensemen. With the way Beaverson played tonight he probably earned himself another start.
** Chris Beckford-Tseu was recalled on Friday from the Florida Everblades to keep track of faceoffs from the bench… and backup Salak.
** For a couple of hours the Amerks were in first place in the North Division. The Manitoba Moose won tonight in a shootout to stay one point ahead of the Amerks. The Moose have also played three more games than the Amerks.