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 Rochester Americans

Amerks Clinch Playoff Berth Despite Seeing Win Streak Snapped

April 12, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release


(Rochester, NY) - The Rochester Americans (36-23-6-2) erased a two-goal first-period deficit but were unable to slow down a third-period surge by the Belleville Senators (35-27-3-3) in what became a 6-3 loss in the first of back-to-back meetings between the North Division rivals Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.

Despite seeing their season-long six-game win streak snapped, the Amerks have clinched a playoff spot in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs. Rochester has qualified for the postseason in each of the last four seasons dating back to the 2018-19 campaign and 49 times in the 68-year history of the franchise.

Tonight's regulation loss was Rochester's first on home ice since Feb. 28 as they came into the matchup with a 6-0-0-1 record over their last seven games. The Amerks are also 10-2-0-1 in their last 13 games and have points in 25 of their last 34 dating back to Jan. 17.

Forwards Graham Slaggert (1+1) and Brandon Biro (0+2) both tallied multi-point games for the Amerks, who will look to split the weekend set in Saturday's rematch with Belleville. Mason Jobst and Justin Richards both scored in the second and third periods, respectively. Jeremy Davies, Isak Rosén, and Damien Giroux rounded out the scoring as they all added one assist each.

Goaltender Devon Levi (13-6-3), who made his 22nd appearance of the season, stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced. He entered the game having won six straight and seven of his last eight starts.

Nikolas Matinpalo (2+0), Tyler Kleven (1+1), and Rourke Chartier (0+2) all recorded two-point outings for Belleville, which has won five straight games to remain in the hunt of a playoff spot. Wyatt Bongiovanni, Zack Ostapchuk, and Josh Currie d rounded out the scoring.

Goaltender Mads Sogaard (16-9-3) made his fourth appearance against Rochester and 22nd overall. The 6-foot-7 netminder finished with 38 saves, his most since Dec. 9, 2023.

The Senators, who were outshot 22-10 in the second period, emerged from the dressing room and reclaimed their lead just 2:20 into the final frame.

Belleville forced a turnover inside the Amerks zone before Matinpalo fired a long range shot from the right point. The puck was heading wide of the net, however, it pinballed off a Rochester skater in-between the circles and behind Levi to break the 2-2 tie.

The visitors wasted little time to double their lead as Currie wired a shot from Jacob Larsson and Chartier 1:23 after Matinpalo's second of the contest while on a power-play.

The Amerks tried to trim the two-goal deficit once again as they pulled Levi for the final three minutes of regulation, but Kleven pushed the score to 5-2 with 1:25 to play.

The two clubs traded goals in the final 75 seconds of regulation to complete the 6-3 score.

In the opening frame, Rochester saw a pair of grade-A chances denied by the glove of Sogaard before the visitors took a quick 2-0 lead with two goals in 23 seconds.

Belleville's first of the two came off Ostapchuk's one-timer from the top of the right face-off dot before Matinpalo notched his third of the season on the ensuing shift from nearly the same spot at the 10:53 mark.

Prior to the completion of first period, Brendan Warren helped bring some energy to the hometown team as he provided a big hit along the boards followed by a fight in the final minutes.

The Amerks used the momentum after the intermission break to cut into the deficit just 35 seconds into the middle stanza.

A long range shot by Biro eluded the glove of Sogaard thanks to a net-front redirection by Slaggert to put Rochester on the board with his second goal in as many games.

Six minutes later, the Amerks drew a pair of penalties in succession to gain a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:29.

On the two-man advantage, Jobst, who was stopped earlier in the contest by Belleville's goaltender, traded places with Biro in the right circle. Rosén and Biro exchanged passes before the latter tucked to his left and fed Jobst with a one-timer through the zone to knot the score at 2-2.

Rochester, which at one point held a 13-2 shot-advantage, finished the frame with 22 shots, the most in a single period this season.

Belleville finished the game by scoring four of the next five goals to earn the 6-3 victory.

The Amerks close out their season-series with the Senators with a 5:05 p.m. rematch on Saturday, April 13. All the action from The Blue Cross Arena will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.

Stars and Stripes:

Amerks forward Jiri Kulich registered a career-high 11 shots on goal while Mason Jobst scored for the third time in his last four games ... Brandon Biro, who paces all Rochester skaters with 14 multi-point games this season, became the third Amerk this season to reach the 40-point mark ... Biro has reached the mark in each of his last three seasons ... Graham Slaggert, who has scored in back-to-back games for the first time this season and second of his professional career, has totaled four points (3+1) over his last four contests.

Goal Scorers

BEL: Z. Ostapchuk (17), N. Matinpalo (3, 4), J. Currie (12 - GWG), T. Kleven (5), W. Bongiovanni (13)

ROC: G. Slaggert (6), M. Jobst (21), J. Richards (7)

Goaltenders

BEL: M. Sogaard - 38/41 (W)

ROC: D. Levi - 18/22 (L)

Shots

BEL: 24

ROC: 41

Special Teams

BEL: PP (2/2) | PK (3/4)

ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (0/2)

Three Stars:

1. BEL - N. Matinpalo

2. BEL - M. Sogaard

3. ROC - B. Biro


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