The Rochester Americans finally broke their Friday night curse with a home win against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Their previous home win on a Friday night dated back to November 27th. That’s about the time the season took a slump, slide, or you could even call it evening out. A Friday night win gets a three game weekend kicked off with a sense of confidence instead of doubt.
The difference maker in Fridays game was Mike York. It’s now obvious the team really missed him while he was out of the lineup (do the list of possible reasons even matter anymore? I don’t think so). Mike Duco scored a power play goal at 3:26 of the first period on the power play to give the Amerks an early 1-0 lead. The goal was possible because York had faked a shot and instead sent the pass over to Duco who put it in the net. After the game Duco said that he knew York saw him so he was expecting the pass.
Jordan Henry scored the third goal of the game for the Amerks at 10:51 of the second period on the power play that gave the Amerks a 3-1 lead. York had the puck to the right of Griffins goalie Thomas McCollum and sent a perfect pass through the front of the crease to Henry who was going to the front of the net to put it in the net. Jordan Henry talked after the game about just having to put your stick on the ice and York will make sure the puck gets to it and you can score.
Benoit Groulx said a few good things about York but the one thing that sticks out is, “he does not panic.”
The patience and passing skills of Mike York is what makes him so dangerous. He knows he’s not the fastest skater, he’s not going to go end to end but he’ll get a play setup and make it easy for everyone else. York does not seem to lose the confidence as a game goes on, he doesn’t start making bad plays, he stays calm and gets the job done. Hopefully many others can learn from him.
Victor Oreskovich, Max Gratchev, and Evgeny Dadonov also tallied goals for the Amerks to give them the 5-3 win.
Heading into the final 20 games of the season the wins become even more important now especially with the North Division race so close. It’s finally nice to write after a Friday night that the game was not horrible. It was a good game. The Amerks got the job done and hopefully it’s something they build on.
Jordan Henry said it best, “It’s playoff hockey from here on out.”
The Amerks are on the road tonight against the Hamilton Bulldogs which should be a great game. The Bulldogs have pulled away from the rest of the North Division but there’s still time left in the season. The Amerks are 4-3-1 this season against the Bulldogs but the past two games the Bulldogs have won outscoring the Amerks 11-3.
A big win would be awesome tonight. I’m heading to the Knighthawks game so there will not be a live chat, which could be a good thing. I’m somewhat superstitious and ever since they started the team has not done so well.
The Amerks are back at home on Sunday against the Binghamton Senators. The game originally scheduled to start at 3pm has been moved to 6:30pm so that everyone can watch the mens hockey Olympic gold medal game. Blue Cross Arena will be open at 3pm to watch the game.
Grand Rapids Griffins 3 At Rochester Americans 5 – Status: Final
Feb 26, 2010 – Blue Cross Arena
Grand Rapids 1 1 1 – 3
Rochester 1 2 2 – 5
1st Period-1, Rochester, Duco 8 (York), 3:26 (pp). 2, Grand Rapids, Ritola 14 (Abdelkader, Tardif), 6:13 (pp). Penalties-served by Pare Gr (bench minor – too many men), 1:51; Duco Rch (hooking), 4:46; Taylor Rch (cross-checking), 10:07; Janik Gr (holding), 10:31; Duco Rch (slashing), 15:47.
2nd Period-3, Rochester, Oreskovich 3 (Garrison, Dadonov), 0:35. 4, Rochester, Henry 8 (York, Johnson), 10:51 (pp). 5, Grand Rapids, Vigilante 10 (Abdelkader, Ritola), 17:22. Penalties-de Gray Rch (hooking), 7:43; Tatar Gr (hooking), 10:07.
3rd Period-6, Rochester, Gratchev 3 (de Gray, MacIntyre), 2:32. 7, Grand Rapids, Newbury 10 (Delmore, Williams), 10:48. 8, Rochester, Dadonov 11 19:47 (en). Penalties-Mursak Gr (hooking), 4:59; Johnson Rch (cross-checking), 11:47; Henry Rch (double minor – spearing (attempt)), 20:00.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 14-12-9-35. Rochester 6-13-7-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 1 of 5; Rochester 2 of 4.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, McCollum 7-13-0 (25 shots-21 saves). Rochester, Salak 25-12-0 (35 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Ian Croft (87).
Linesmen-Justin Prusak (70), Brian Lemon (25).