Amerks Feel the Heat and are Forced to a Game 7

Before everyone starts writing a eulogy for this Amerks team just remember that it’s not over yet.  When a playoff series is on the line every team wants home ice advantage, something the Amerks earned.  It’s up to them to use it to their advantage.  It’s their building.  This team has done a lot this season, the last they they want is this season to be considered one big choke.

The only other time in Amerks history that they had a 3-1 series lead that eventually went to a game seven they won the series on their way to a Calder Cup in 1983.

That’s what we have to hope at least.  On to the game….

The Abbotsford Heat scored three goals in a span of two minutes and nine seconds that turned out to be too big of a hole for the Amerks to climb out of.  The Heat won the game thanks to speed, passing, bad giveaways and poor defensive coverage by the Amerks.

Evgeny Dadonov gave up the puck after being chased down by Mikael Backlund in the Amerks zone which led to a goal by Jason Jaffray.  It only took 41 seconds for the Heat to score again as Jon Rheault went flying past Keaton Ellerby on the outside and back in to beat Tyler Plante with a fancy move.

Jordan Henry made a bad move on the Heat’s third goal as he went chasing after the puck to the side boards which was the same side that Mathieu Roy was already covering.  That allowed Mikael Backlund to feed a pass to Jon Rheault who turned on the accelerator to go into the Amerks zone on a breakaway and score on Tyler Plante.

Here’s the description of the goal from the Heat’s press release:

In eerily similar fashion to his goal in Game 5, Rheault provided the Heat with a three-goal cushion by taking  a beautiful breakaway pass from Mikael Backlund then deking Tyler Plante out of his pads, guiding the puck thru the wickets of the Amerks goalie.

The crafty forward said it was his ‘go to move.’

“Most goalies think I’ll pull it to my backhand and then I pull it back and get them five-hole. [Backlund] made a great pass that allowed me to go in there,” he said.

That was the game in the first period.  The Heat have the clear advantage in this series with speed and the way they have prevented the Amerks from getting the puck behind their defense.

Tyler Plante was pulled from net after the third goal scored by the Heat but he was not to blame, as usual his teammates left him hanging out to dry.  The strategy by coaches in pulling a goalie is to try and create a change, get something going, change of scenery.  When the goalie is not to blame it can be debated how effective that really is.  If anything Keaton Ellerby and Evgeny Dadonov should have been glued to the benches but they were back out on the ice minutes later.

Jamie Johnson scored the lone goal for the Amerks giving some sense of hope but there wasn’t much to be found.  Mike York took the initial shot on the side along the boards and Johnson stood in front of the net to hit in the fumbled rebound by David Shantz.

I was not at the game so we’ll have to wait for the morning edition of the Democrat and Chronicle for quotes from the Amerks about the game.  I assume it’ll be talking about not thinking about the past, what they have to do and getting it done.


Abbotsford Heat 5 At Rochester Americans 1 – Status: Final
Apr 25, 2010 – Blue Cross Arena

Abbotsford 3 1 1 – 5
Rochester 0 1 0 – 1

1st Period-1, Abbotsford, Jaffray 1 (Van der Gulik, Backlund), 9:09. 2, Abbotsford, Rheault 3 (Sutter), 9:50. 3, Abbotsford, Rheault 4 (Backlund, Sutter), 11:18. Penalties-Mink Rch (goaltender interference), 3:31; Salak Rch (holding), 18:43.

2nd Period-4, Rochester, Johnson 2 (York, Garrison), 8:25 (pp). 5, Abbotsford, Van der Gulik 2   17:51 (pp). Penalties-Murray Abb (roughing), 2:59; Henry Rch (roughing), 2:59; Pelech Abb (tripping), 7:29; Pelech Abb (tripping), 12:15; Henry Rch (cross-checking), 16:15; Murray Abb (roughing), 20:00.

3rd Period-6, Abbotsford, Rheault 5 (Sutter), 7:26. Penalties-Baldwin Abb (interference), 2:48; Brine Rch (hooking), 8:40; Latendresse Abb (fighting), 18:39; Taffe Rch (fighting), 18:39.

Shots on Goal-Abbotsford 13-13-15-41. Rochester 6-11-6-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Abbotsford 1 of 4; Rochester 1 of 4.
Goalies-Abbotsford, Shantz 3-2-0 (23 shots-22 saves). Rochester, Plante 3-2-0 (7 shots-4 saves); Salak 0-1-0 (34 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Chris Ciamaga (41).
Linesmen-Brian Lemon (25), Derek Sylvester (76).