It was the seventh win this season for the Amerks against the cross state rival Syracuse Crunch. The only element missing from the game was the typical chirping, cheap shots, and fights between the two teams.
Mike Duco opened the scoring for the Amerks at 6:52 of the first period. Jordan Henry had just gotten out of the box and fed a pass to Jamie Johnson who brought the puck across the blue line. Johnson was stopped in his tracks by a Crunch player, passed the puck to Duco who let a shot go through some legs and beat Dan Taylor five hole.
Brady Calla scored his first goal of the season (pictured) and it was also the game winning goal. It was the type of goal that’s been talked about with players stepping up and contributing. Jimmy Bonneau did a great job getting Calla the puck to score.
Nick Tarnasky led the Amerks with two goals in the game, one in the first and another in the third. Tarnasky is with the Amerks for some conditioning since breaking his orbital bone in the Panthers first preseason game back in September, he’s expected to stay through next Tuesdays game against the Monsters.
“Randy didn’t tell me he was sending me a skilled player,” Benoit Groulx joked about after the game. “It was nice for a change.”
With Graham Mink out of the lineup Tarnasky seemed to fit right into the lineup. A strong forward not afraid to go to the front of the net and it paid off.
It’s also worth mentioning that during a boring second period Tarnasky had two huge hits on a shift towards the end of the period that had sent the opposing players down on the ice. I wouldn’t mind keeping this guy around longer.
A scary moment occurred in the second period when Chris Taylor took a shot off what looked like the inside of his knee and he seemed to barely make it to the bench. After a quick breather and walk in the back hallway he was back on the ice as if nothing happened.
Alright, so those are the highlights of the game… now on to the rest… and then more positive…
The second period was just dreadful. It’s amazing they escaped with the Crunch only scoring one goal. The coach and players all know it was a bad period and talked about it after the game. The common theme is that it’s over, they won, and they’ve moved on.
“It was a lesson learned,” Jason Garrison said.
The team seems to be learning a lot of lessons, now we just have to hope they get them out of their system now rather than in the spring.
Ville Koistinen left the arena on crutches with a knee injury of some sort, no idea the extent of it. I’ve been critical of Koistinen but he’s still better than the alternatives on defense available so I hope he’s not going to miss any time.
Speaking of defense, it’s this teams weakest link. They are often having problems clearing the puck when needed or getting pushed around in front of the net. I asked Benoit Groulx after the game about that part of the defense and he said it is something they need to work on. They need to be stronger and not allow players to step right in and have easy shots on the goaltender.
The game was not the greatest game played and there may be elements of the game we’re not happy with but the team is still in first place in the North Division and still has the highest winning percentage in the league. They are one of the highest scoring teams in the league. One of the best power play units. In the top 10 in killing penalties.
The team has a much needed day off on Wednesday and will return to practice on Thursday morning. They’ll have four games in five nights before the Christmas break.
See you at the next home game this Friday December 18th vs the Hershey Bears!