December 29, 2017 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Rochester Americans
Rochester, NY - The Rochester Americans' (19-7-3-3) bid for a fifth straight victory against the Laval Rocket (12-14-5-2) came up short as the Amerks fell 3-1 Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
Despite falling in regulation for just the fourth time since Nov. 1, Rochester has notched points in 20 of its last 23 games and has collected 36 points during that span. The Amerks remain tied atop the Eastern Conference and the North Division with the Toronto Marlies with 44 points.
Colin Blackwell established a career-high as he tallied his fifth goal of the season for Rochester while goaltender Linus Ullmark, who was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week, made 23 saves but took the loss. The Swedish netminder holds a share of the league-lead with 14 wins and boasts a 14-5-3 overall record on the season.
Laval's leading point-scorer, Chris Terry, pushed his point-streak (5+7) to seven games as he scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season. Nikita Scherbak tallied the game-winner while Markus Eisenschmid opened the scoring on the night with his second marker of the campaign. Charlie Lindgren earned the win in the blue paint as he stopped 31 of 32 on the night to improve 5-7-6 on the season.
With the score 2-1 in Laval's favor, the Amerks drew their fifth penalty of the night with 2:43 left in the contest. However, Rochester was unable find a way to beat Lindgren to tie the game as the Rocket successfully killed the infraction to earn their first win of the eight-game season series.
"We had a chance to win or tie the game on the power-play but we did not," said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. "Laval came up big while shorthanded all game and in the third period, but again, we were unable to tie the game."
Laval opened the scoring on the night as Eisenschmid scored his second goal of the season when he fired a shot past Ullmark 8:24 into the first period.
Despite the Amerks holding a 7-2 shot advantage, they trailed the Rocket, but Blackwell knotted the score with his fifth of the year just five minutes after the Laval tally.
While along the near boards, Hudson Fasching dished a pass to Zach Redmond, who was streaking in the backdoor from his post at the right point. The defenseman caught Lindgren out of position before centering a puck towards the front of the crease. With multiple sticks trying swipe at the loose puck, Blackwell was able to convert from the top of the to tie the game at 1-1 with 6:02 left in the opening period.
"We had a lot of chances tonight," Fasching said. "We played pretty well but a couple defensive errors was ultimately the difference-maker tonight."
The game remained tied until Scherbak gave the Rocket a 2-1 lead just 3:11 into the final period of regulation. The marker held up as the game-winning goal as Terry would tack on the empty-netter in the final second of the contest.
"In the first four games against them, the games have been tight games," said Ullmark. "Tonight's game was no different but Laval was able to capitalize on some bounces that did not go our way."
With first-place hanging in the balance, the top two teams in the Eastern Conference will go head-to-head on Friday, Dec. 29 when the Amerks head north of the border take on the Toronto Marlies in an all-important matchup at Ricoh Coliseum. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the second of eight scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
Tickets for all remaining 2017-18 Amerks home games are available