The Amerks were shutout on Friday night by the Syracuse Crunch with most of the credit given to Crunch goalie Iiro Tarkki. Â He was perfect in the game with 31 saves. Â On the other end of the rink Drew MacIntyre was scored on four times. Â The Amerks have only won three out of their past 10 games.
Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier was in Syracuse to watch the game and so was Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray. Â Were they talking trades in person? Â Just watching some hockey? Â With the NHL All-Star break they were likely there just to watch the prospects but everyone can insert their own assumptions.
Lindsay Kramer of the Post Standard had this in his writeup:
The first two markers were chunks of raw meat for a sellout crowd of 6,353 fans, which then in turn pushed the team into a higher gear game. The bounceback came after Syracuse dropped both ends of a home-and-home series to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last weekend.
â€œIt pushes them (the Amerks) on their heels. And the crowd was great,â€™â€™ Schofield said. â€œWe focused on coming out (hard) early all week. Losing two in a row, that was the main emphasis (in practice). We stopped the streak at two.â€™â€™
A large home crowd and a hungry team. Â The Amerks have nine home games in February, here’s hoping they do the same things. Â The team is only three points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference and heading into the second half of season every win starts to become more and more valuable. Â Still trying to look at things with a half glass full kind of way.
The Amerks had six power play opportunities but again were held scoreless. Â The last time the team scored a power play goal was January 13th. Â They haven’t scored in six games with 23 chances during those six games. Â Looking at the other side, the Amerks have lost four of those six games and the opposition has only scored four goals out of 24 chances. Â Four goals isn’t all that much, even strength goals have been a bigger factor but when you can’t score playing five on five you need the power play to stand up.
One concern is, how much has the “no quit” attitude taken a toll on this Amerks team? Â They work hard and do what they can but when you’re not winning it starts to take an emotional and physical toll.
We’ll see what happens when the team plays against the Toronto Marlies at 3pm today in Toronto.
Here’s more on the game from the Amerks:
Syracuse jumped out to a quick start, taking a 2-0 lead before the game was three minutes old. Kyle Palmieri opened the scoring with his team-leading 24thÂ goal of the season. A dump-in by Syracuse bounced through traffic and Palmieri, who found his way in behind the Rochester defense, picked up a loose puck in front and knocked it in for the goal at 1:47 of the period. Caputi picked up the lone assist on what proved to be the game-winning tally for his first of two points on the night.
The Crunch added to their lead 70 seconds later when Rick Schofield scored his fifth goal of the season. The unassisted goal came after Schofieldâ€™s shot from the right wing went through a screen in front to make its way past MacIntyre.
The teams played a scoreless second period, though there was no shortage of scoring opportunities at both ends of the rink. Strong play between the pipes by MacIntyre and Tarkki kept it a 2-0 game through 40 minutes of play.
After nearly 30 minutes of scoreless activity, Bell extended his teamâ€™s lead to 3-0 at 12:02 of the final frame when his shot from the high slot eluded MacIntyre for his sixth goal of the campaign. Andrew Gordon and former Amerk Sean Zimmerman each earned assists on the play.
Caputi and the Syracuse power-play capitalized on a late man-advantage opportunity, needing just 13 seconds on the man-up after Rochesterâ€™s Paul Szczechura was sent off for holding. Bell earned his second point of the night with an assist and Nate Guenin also helped set up Caputiâ€™s sixth goal of the season at 15:45 to make it a 4-0 contest in favor of the Crunch.
Joe Finley sat the game out due to illness.