Amerks Shootout Win Extends Streak to Four Games; Adversity is No Problem

(Update: Added shootout video and Travis Turnbull incident) This Rochester Americans team is supposed to lack goal scoring.  It’s supposed to be missing a couple of players as veteran leadership.  It’s supposed to lack depth.  It’s also supposed to be torn apart by all of the injuries and call ups but the players put everything out on the ice and won in a shootout against the top team in the league.  They were down 2-1 and 3-2 during the game but came back each time and didn’t slow down at all.  With the four game winning streak in hand the Amerks have climbed back to within one point of the North Division leading Toronto Marlies.  The players are certainly giving reasons to believe that the glass is half full and filling up.

(Picture by Steven Christy from

Paul Szczechura, Shaone Morrisonn and Evan Rankin were all out of the lineup with injuries but watching the game it was hard to tell.  Sure, the team failed to score on five power play chances which is where a Szczechura or Rankin could have helped but when you can score at even strength it’s not as bad.

We’ve shared concerns about this team time and time again but the players and coaching staff seem to keep coming back and saying, “don’t worry, we have this!”  That’s fine with me.  We’ll take it.  The coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for not letting this team get down on themselves and also for making the most of players that for the most part probably shouldn’t have started the season here.  Those players deserve credit for putting everything they have out on the ice every night and not backing down.

There’s a lot of great reasons to come and see this team play on home ice where they’ve won 10 out of 15 games.

On to the game recap… About a month ago I made a comment to someone that the defense seems to be missing a defenseman like Jason Garrison who can blast a shot from the blue line to score (and also break a lot of sticks).  Since I made that comment we’ve seen TJ Brennan, Drew Schiestel and Alex Biega start to score goals from the back of the pack.  Brennan scored the first goal of the game at 7:01 of the first with assists to Phil Varone and Alex Biega.  Get these guys the puck and they can put the puck on the net.

The Barons tied the game at one on the power play thanks to a perfect bounce off of the shin guards of Dennis Persson.  Magnus Paajarvi took a shot that was blocked by Persson but the puck shot into the air and right to Ryan Keller who gloved it to the ice and quickly beat David Leggio.  An awesome blocked shot but not so luck bounce right to a great player in Ryan Keller.

Dan Ringwald gave the Barons a 2-1 lead at 12:57 of the second period on the power play after a fast four on three break down the ice.  Travis Turnbull had went to the Barons net with a scoring chance but was taken down, fell into Danis and then the Barons net was knocked off.  The play didn’t stop though.  The Barons had control of the puck and were going in the opposite direction so the play continued and the Barons didn’t waste any time scoring.

A couple of minutes later the Amerks had a power play chance of their own with a five on three for a minute and 43 seconds but didn’t score.  Jacob Lagace had the best opportunity with a shot on a wide open net on the left side but somehow Yann Danis got a piece of the  puck and stopped it.

Lagace answered back though with under two minutes to play in the second period tapping in a pass at the opposite side of the net from where Danis had previously stopped him.  Marcus Foligno brought the puck into the zone and passed it to Phil Varone who fed it over to Lagace.

It only took 21 seconds into the third period for Ryan Keller to score again and put the Barons up 3-2.  Keller is a skilled veteran who knew exactly where to go to the front of the net to get a rebound and beat David Leggio to regain the lead.

Travis Turnbull was ejected from the game and accumulated 27 minutes in penalty time for going after Ryan O’Marra who had bumped Leggio in the crease and knocked his helmet off.  Turnbull followed O’Marra to the boards and stood up for his goalie.

He was hit with aggressor and instigating penalties.  Here’s more from the rule book on those.

Aggressor, (46.2) : The aggressor in an altercation shall be the player (or goalkeeper) who continues to throw punches in an attempt to inflict punishment on his opponent who is in a defenseless position or who is an unwilling combatant.

Instigating, (46.10) : An instigator of an altercation shall be a player who by his actions or demonstrates any following criteria: clearly pursues an opponent who is a non-willing combatant; attacks or jumps his opponent and proceeds to throw punches.

Here’s video of the incident, doesn’t seem to me like he deserved 27 minutes:

Rewind back to the first period, Turnbull had left a trail of blood on the ice and went to the locker room after getting hit in the face.  Here’s the tweet he shared after the game:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/TravisTurnbull9/status/152249271708696577″]

Back to the penalty, no problem, the Amerks killed off the five minute penalty and got back to even strength.

Jacob Lagace scored his second goal of the night and ninth of the season at 10:11 of the third period to tie the game.  Marcus Foligno put a shot/pass on net that Lagace tipped past Danis.  Drew Schiestel was also given an assist on the goal.

The two teams continue to play back and forth hockey through the rest of regulation and the entire overtime session.  David Leggio and Yann Danis both played outstanding games.  The two teams also played to win, it wasn’t one of those games where you watched one team playing to not lose or just simply make it to overtime to get a point.

Scoring in the shootout it was Jacob Lagace, Jonathan Parker and TJ Brennan in the sixth round to give the Amerks another win and four points on the road trip against the top team in the American Hockey League right on.

This win has to give the team some great confidence heading into a game on Friday against Hamilton, a team they’ve played against six times but have only won one game.  They play on Friday at 7:35 at the War Memorial in downtown Rochester and it’s shaping up to be a very well attended game.

Box score:

Rochester Americans 4 (SO) at Oklahoma City Barons 3 – Status: Final SO
Wednesday, December 28, 2011 – Cox Convention Center

Rochester 1 1 1 0 – 4
Oklahoma City 1 1 1 0 – 3

1st Period-1, Rochester, Brennan 6 (Biega, Varone), 7:01. 2, Oklahoma City, Keller 10 (Paajarvi, Helmer), 12:54 (PP). Penalties-Hartikainen Okc (holding), 1:40; Boychuk Rch (interference), 12:31; Grant Okc (hooking), 18:02.

2nd Period-3, Oklahoma City, Ringwald 1 (Green, Helmer), 12:57 (PP). 4, Rochester, Lagace 8 (Varone, Foligno), 18:01. Penalties-Varone Rch (delay of game), 8:46; Boychuk Rch (slashing), 12:12; Tyrvainen Okc (slashing), 13:23; O’Marra Okc (tripping), 13:40.

3rd Period-5, Oklahoma City, Keller 11 (Helmer, Paajarvi), 0:21. 6, Rochester, Lagace 9 (Foligno, Schiestel), 10:11. Penalties-Turnbull Rch (instigating, fighting, misconduct – instigating, game misconduct – aggressor), 2:06; O’Marra Okc (charging), 2:06; Tulupov Okc (charging), 14:46.

OT Period- No Scoring.Penalties-No Penalties

Shootout – Rochester 3 (Whitmore NG, Lagace G, Voakes NG, Parker G, Foligno NG, Brennan G), Oklahoma City 2 (Pitlick NG, Keller G, Hartikainen NG, Paajarvi G, Green NG, Cornet NG).
Shots on Goal-Rochester 8-8-5-3-1-25. Oklahoma City 8-5-11-1-0-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Rochester 0 / 5; Oklahoma City 2 / 4.
Goalies-Rochester, Leggio 9-7-0 (25 shots-22 saves). Oklahoma City, Danis 13-5-1 (24 shots-21 saves).
Referees-Jamie Koharski (84).
Linesmen-John Grandt (95), Johnathan Morrison (27).