Amerks Lose in Overtime to the Rampage, 10th Loss by One Goal

There’s almost always more than one way to look at a game, especially a loss.  You can look at it as being a close game and getting a point on the road is acceptable or you can start to pull your hair out due to frustration at the apparent downhill slide.  The Amerks have now lost 10 games by one goal.  You could even push that number to 11 since Albany scored an empty net goal on December 4th to win 4-2 so that’s more like a one goal loss than anything else.

One thing that didn’t help the Amerks was that Colin Stuart was called up to the Buffalo Sabres on Friday morning due to Patrick Kaleta not being able to play.  They had thought Kaleta would play so everyone went on the road trip.  It’ll be interesting to see what kind of flights Stuart had to take to get from San Antonio to Buffalo.

This Rochester Americans team is having to rely on defense and goaltending and unfortunately a defensive turnover by Drew Schiestel is what led to a Bill Thomas breakaway to score the game winner in overtime.  There’s very little offense being generated and the only people to blame for that right now are the Buffalo Sabres.  They’ve called up Colin Stuart, Paul Szczechura, Zach Kassian, and Corey Tropp and have yet to replace them or the offense that Michael Ryan is supposed to be generating but he can’t since he’s out for who knows how long with who knows what medical condition.  Could even point to Matt Ellis and Luke Adam who had originally been slated to spend time in an Amerks uniform but never have.

Phil Varone finally scored his first goal of the season in 27 games played.  A recent bright spot has been Evan Rankin who was called up from the ECHL and signed to a PTO and has five goals and three assists in nine games played.

These guys are busting their butts out on the ice trying to win games but they don’t have enough American Hockey League talent on the roster to push past these one goal differentials and win.  The Amerks continue to slide lower in the standings and with only two road wins all season and four more road games this month it’s not going to be an easy hill to climb.  We’ll see what happens.  If they can go on a five game winning streak the tone will obviously change but based on what’s being seen right now they’re lucky the difference isn’t two to three goals or even higher in these losses.

They play again tonight at 8pm against the Texas Stars. recap:

A late goal by forward Evan Rankin helped secure a point, but the Rochester Americans’ comeback attempt in San Antonio fell short as the Rampage defeated the Amerks 3-2 in overtime at the AT&T Center on Friday night. Former Amerk Bill Thomas capitalized on a breakaway opportunity at 2:12 of the overtime period to give the Rampage the win in Rochester’s first trip to Texas in three seasons.

Phil Varone scored his first professional goal to get the Amerks on the board in the first period and Rankin continued his hot streak, scoring his fifth goal in just his ninth game with the Amerks with under three minutes to go in the third period to tie the game at two and force overtime.

Amerks goaltender Drew MacIntyre was outstanding in net, making 38 saves in the loss. Shaone Morrisonn, T.J. Brennan, Shawn Szydlowski and Dennis Persson each collected an assist in the game for Rochester. Greg Rallo and Keith Seabrook joined Thomas in each netting a goal for the Rampage.

Rallo put the Rampage up 1-0 midway through the first period as he converted on a one-timer from the high slot for his seventh goal of the season at 10:06. With the teams playing 4-on-4, former Amerk Mark Cullen carried the puck into the Rochester zone along the right wing boards and found a trailing Rallo, who finished the play with a blast that beat MacIntyre to the stick side to give San Antonio the early advantage.

The Amerks appeared to tie the game on a goal from Brennan just over a minute later, but referee Mark Lemelin waved the goal off due to a Rochester player leaving the penalty box too early.

Rochester remained focused, however, and would tie the game just 19 seconds later after a goal-mouth scramble led to Varone’s first professional goal. With San Antonio’s Evan Barlow serving a double-minor for high-sticking, the Amerks took advantage of their extended power-play opportunity as Brennan’s shot ricocheted off Rampage goalie Jacob Markstrom’s left pad and somehow averted the net-front traffic on its way to the slot. Varone, with no hesitation, pounced on the puck and beat Markstrom with a low shot just inside the left post for his first of the season. Morrisonn also assisted on the power-play goal at 11:19.

The Rampage regained the lead 14:46 into the second stanza as Seabrook’s wrister from the point eluded a screened MacIntyre and found the back of the net to make it a 2-1 contest. The play started as James Wright found Evgeny Dadonov streaking into the Rochester zone up the middle of the ice, but as Dadonov gained entrance, he left the puck to Seabrook at the blueline and the defenseman’s long shot hit nothing but twine for his first goal of the season.

San Antonio looked to have the game in hand until Rankin made it a 2-2 game as he took Szydlowski’s pass from the left half-wall and picked the right corner over Markstrom’s glove with just 2:19 to play. With Szydlowski stationed along the boards, Rankin made a break to the front of net, received the pass from his linemate and put a perfect shot under the crossbar for his fifth goal of the season. Persson also recorded his first point as an Amerk with an assist on the play.

With the teams playing 4-on-4 in the overtime period, a turnover at the Rochester blueline led to a breakaway opportunity for Thomas, who took a feed from Cullen and skated in alone on MacIntyre and netted the game-winning goal.

Rochester makes its way to Austin on Saturday to take on the Texas Stars at Cedar Park Arena in the first-ever meeting between the interconference rivals. The 8 p.m. EST matchup will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The same two teams will meet again later this season as Texas makes its inaugural trip to Western New York on Friday, February 10.

Rochester Americans 2 at San Antonio Rampage 3 (OT) – Status: Final OT
Friday, December 16, 2011 – AT&T Center

Rochester 1 0 1 0 – 2
San Antonio 1 1 0 1 – 3

1st Period-1, San Antonio, Rallo 7 (Cullen), 10:06. 2, Rochester, Varone 1 (Morrisonn, Brennan), 11:19 (PP). Penalties-Selleck Sa (holding), 2:52; Biega Rch (tripping), 8:27; Barlow Sa (double minor – high-sticking), 8:59; Timmins Sa (holding), 19:41.

2nd Period-3, San Antonio, Seabrook 1 (Dadonov, Wright), 14:46. Penalties-Robak Sa (high-sticking), 5:29; Boychuk Rch (interference), 7:26; Rallo Sa (high-sticking), 9:07; Finley Rch (fighting), 12:05; Selleck Sa (fighting), 12:05; Barlow Sa (hooking), 18:14.

3rd Period-4, Rochester, Rankin 5 (Szydlowski, Persson), 17:41. Penalties-Morrisonn Rch (checking to the head), 18:45; Wright Sa (roughing), 18:45.

OT Period-5, San Antonio, Thomas 7 (Cullen), 2:12. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Rochester 11-3-7-0-21. San Antonio 13-13-11-4-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Rochester 1 / 7; San Antonio 0 / 2.
Goalies-Rochester, MacIntyre 4-8-1 (41 shots-38 saves). San Antonio, Markstrom 4-5-0 (21 shots-19 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41).
Linesmen-Carl Sasyn (12), Terrance Saunders (3).