Amerks Lose Again and Continue Sinking

Whatever you do, don’t let the fact that the Rochester Americans scored three goals Saturday night take away from the fact that they barely showed up for 50 minutes of the game. While the contenders are sharpening their game the Rochester Americans are falling off of the radar.

What’s happening right now is bringing about flashbacks to the 2009/2010 season. In that season the Amerks rose to the top with the right lineup of players brought in, were winning exciting hockey games but started falling apart as the second half of the season went on.

There’s still plenty of time to get things back on track.

It was a short eleven games ago that the Utica Comets were 14 points behind the Rochester Americans in the standings. Right now the two teams are tied for second place at 61 points. The Syracuse Crunch are within two points. Depending how Sunday goes the three teams could be in a three way tie for second in the North Division behind Toronto.

There’s 30 teams in the American League and over the course of the past 10 games there’s only four teams doing worst than the Amerks. Belleville, Laval, Binghamton, Cleveland and Hershey.

The Amerks are in Hershey on Sunday afternoon. One of the two teams will be starting to break out of the skid that they’re on.

Five players are missing from the lineup that were a part of the winning stretches. Were they that much of an impact? It’s plausible. Defensemen Brendan Guhle and Andrew MacWilliam are on the road trip and close to a return. Guhle plays a huge role in breaking out from the defensive zone and MacWilliam keeps players away from the crease. Casey Nelson has made his mark in Buffalo and doesn’t appear to be coming back anytime soon. The other two players are Colin Blackwell (5G+13A) and Garret Ross (6G+3A) who have both played in 37 games.

Scoring is an issue. Justin Bailey hasn’t scored a goal since opening night. This is the second stretch of seven games that CJ Smith has gone without scoring a goal. Hudson Fasching hasn’t scored a goal in 12 games. Seth Griffith hasn’t scored in five games. Kyle Criscuolo has goals in one out of the last seven games. Alexander Nylander has gone 14 games without a goal. Nylander only has two goals in 27 games. Zach Redmond scored his ninth of the season that ended a 14 game drought.

Linus Ullmark has lost his seventh game in a row dating back to his return from the Buffalo Sabres. The losses aren’t all on him. Sounds like a story line out of Buffalo. This is his third season with the Amerks and his worst stretch was the end of the 2015/2016 season when his last eight starts of the season were losses.

The team spent two days after the last loss with tough practices and a lot of video work. It wasn’t enough. A slow start and allowing the opposing team to gain a lead sunk them. Minus a few moments the team didn’t look like a second place team during the first 50 minutes of the game.

Playing against Lehigh was no different than the game against Belleville on Wednesday. A lot of shots that Phantoms goalie Dustin Tokarski had no problem tracking. Very few second or third chances off of rebounds and turnovers that resulted in goals against.

The Phantoms had a 3-0 lead going into the third period. Matt Tennyson brought the Amerks within two but just over two minutes later the Phantoms were up 4-1. There was a brief moment that it felt like the Amerks could strike a comeback when Sahir Gill and Zach Redmond scored two goals in under three minutes.

Cole Bardreau stopped the comeback scoring a breakaway goal with 2:21 left in the third and the Phantoms went on to win 5-3.

To insert a cliche, they can build off of the last 10 minutes of the game, carry that into Sunday and start building off of that. The expectations are higher than that but it’s a start.

Here’s the scoring clips..

Too little too late. The Amerks have a chance to pick up two points in Hershey on Sunday afternoon at 5pm.