The Amerks had the odds stacked against them against Grand Rapids with majority of the teams defense either called up or injured.Â The Griffins were able to score six goals against the Amerks in their 6-3 win which also denied the Amerks the chance to clinch home ice advantage.Â The magic number is now one point.Â The Amerks need either one point in one of their last two games to clinch home ice.Â The other possibility is that they need the Abbotsford Heat to lose once in regulation in one their final two games.
Jordan Henry and Michael Caruso were the teams top two defensemen on Wednesday and had assistance from Luke Beaverson, Matt Duffy, Carl Hudson and Corey Syvret.Â Those guys work hard at what they do but that’s more of an ECHL calibre defense than that of a 2nd place AHL team.Â Rory Fitzpatrick did not make the trip, I assume he’s resting up his groin for the weekend.
Here’s the teams official recap:
For Immediate Release
April 7, 2010
GRIFFINS DOUBLE UP AMERKS TO HALT WINNING STREAK
(Rochester, NY)â€¦ The Grand Rapids Griffins scored twice in each period en route to a 6-3 win over the Rochester Americans tonight at Van Andel Arena. With the loss, Rochester (43-32-2-1) saw its current three-game winning streak come to a halt and was denied its chances for clinching home-ice advantage in the first round of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Amerks now lead the Abbotsford Heat by three points after their 5-4 shootout loss to the Lake Erie Monsters tonight.
Riley Armstrong (2+0), Justin Abdelkader (1+1) and Jamie Tardif (0+2) each tallied two-point nights to earn first, second and third star honors, respectively. Thomas McCollum made 29 saves to pick up the win for the hometown Griffins.
Jamie Johnson (1+1) and Mike York (0+2) also collected two points each for the Amerks, while Tyler Plante and Alexander Salak split time between the pipes, combining for 38 saves.
Armstrong and Corey Emmerton scored first-period goals to give Grand Rapids a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.
Jeff Taffe opened the scoring midway through the second stanza to cut Rochesterâ€™s deficit in half with his team-leading 27th goal of the season. Johnson and York each picked up their first points of the night with assists on the play at 10:16.
Grand Rapids went up 4-1 in the latter part of the period with goals from Jan Mursak and Abdelkader just over three minutes apart from each other to jumpstart a four-goal run for the Griffins. Mursak netted his 23rd of the season at 16:04 before Abdelkader followed with his 11th with 39 seconds left in the period that chased Plante, who made his sixth straight start and played in his 100th professional game tonight.
The Griffins quickly extended their lead to 6-1 early in the final frame with two more tallies in a span of 2:13 to take control of the game. Armstrong notched his second of the game at 2:29 and NHL veteran Brad May put his fifth in the net at 4:42 to give his club a five-point cushion.
Rochester once again cut Grand Rapidsâ€™ lead in half with back-to-back third-period markers from Michael Duco and Johnson to make it a 6-3 game. Johnson now needs just one point to hit the 70-point plateau, becoming the first player since the 2004-05 season to reach the mark.
Rochester closes out its home slate on Friday, April 9th as the Toronto Marlies make their way across the border to The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the eighth and final get-together for the divisional foes this season and will be broadcast live on Sports Radio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochesterâ€™s Sports Talk. Fans can also tune in to watch live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26. With a win over Toronto, the Amerks will clinch second place in the American Hockey Leagueâ€™s North Division and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Amerks show a 6-0-0-1 record this season against the Marlies, after falling short in a 4-3 shootout loss in the previous encounter back on March 28th. Rochester has outscored Toronto 26-13 this season and is 18-21-2 all-time against the Baby Maple Leafs.
That night, the Amerks will show their support for breast cancer awareness and will don the traditional pink jerseys and socks as part of the annual celebration for the cause. The Amerks will auction off the game-worn items and fans can place their bids up until the start of the third period of the game. Those paying with cash can take their jerseys right off the playersâ€™ backs after the game. The funds raised will go to the Knighthawks/Amerks Charitable Foundation, Inc., which will distribute the money to local cancer-related charities. The Amerks will also showcase their pink dashers, which will be the first of their kind in AHL history.
The Amerks will also have their annual awards night prior to the game, honoring the best performances of the season. Fridayâ€™s game falls on the final installment of the Amerks Dollar Dogs â€˜Nâ€™ Drafts promotion. Friday night will be the last chance for fans to take part in the â€œDollar Dogs â€˜Nâ€™ Draftsâ€ promotion and purchase Zweigleâ€™s Hot Dogs and Draft Beers for just $1 each!