Amerks Fall to Cleveland in Series Opener
(Rochester, NY) ... The Rochester Americans (8-6-2-1) opened a three-game series against the Cleveland Monsters (9-5-1-0) with a 9-2 loss Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena.
The contest, which stopped Rochester's three-game point streak (2-0-1-0), was the third of six scheduled meetings between the two teams this season. The Amerks, who are 30-9-4-4 record against the Monsters since the start of the 2011-12 season, opened the season-series with a 7-3 victory over the Monsters, but Cleveland has since claimed the last two meetings.
Rookie defenseman Griffin Luce opened the scoring with his second goal of the campaign 1:37 into the first period while team captain Steven Fogarty, who was reassigned earlier in the day from the Buffalo Sabres, chipped in his sixth marker of the slate. Despite playing in his first game with Rochester since Mar. 10, Fogarty now shares the team lead in goals.
Rookie goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (7-5-2) made his sixth consecutive start in the crease for Rochester and 11th in the last 12 games. The rookie netminder finished with 22 saves and ranks eighth in the AHL in wins. The Finland native has made 25 or more saves in nine of his last 13 appearances dating back to a career-best 43-save performance at Cleveland on Feb. 12.
Cleveland, which has outscored its opposition 18-7 over its current four-game win streak, improved to 8-2-0-0 in the last 10 games. Defensemen Jake Christiansen and Thomas Schemitsch both tallied four-point nights (1+3) while forwards Liam Foudy (1+2) and Tyler Sikura (1+1) also recorded multi-point outings as well. Blueliner Adam Clendening registered a pair of helpers in the win. Carson Meyer, Matthew Struthers, Tyler Angle, Josh Dunne and Nathan Gerbe completed the scoring for the Monsters.
Netminder Matiss Kivlenieks improved to 4-0-0 on the campaign as he made 12 saves.
After seeing Rochester taking a one-goal lead and a pair of penalties in succession, the Monsters flipped a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 advantage as they tallied two goals in 34 seconds.
On its second power-play of the frame, Angle pounced on a loose rebound out in front of Luukkonen before Dunne snapped in his second of the season as he kept the puck inside the offensive zone. Rochester attempted to rim the puck around the boards but Dunne stepped in from the point and wristed a shot into the net with 10:58 to go in the period.
The visitors added one goal to their total at the 13:33 mark, when Struthers snuck in the backdoor and netted his first of the season after receiving a pass from Clendening. Christiansen was also credited with his second secondary assist of the night as he handed Clendening the puck atop the right point.
Prior to the end of the opening period, the line of Fogarty, Jack Quinn and Remi Elie kept the puck inside the Monsters zone along with defensemen Casey Fitzgerald and Mattias Samuelsson. Moments later, after Kivlenieks lost his goal stick, Fogarty stepped out from the corner and slipped the puck between the right pad of the netminder and the post to make it a 3-2 game going into the first intermission.
With his secondary assist, Quinn as recorded three points (1+2) over his last four games while Fitzgerald, who has seven points (2+5) through 16 contests, is one point shy from matching his career-best.
In the second period, the Monsters turned up the pressure and limited Rochester to a season-low three shots on net while adding 15 much like the first frame.
Cleveland used its quick-strike scoring as Meyer and Gerbe both scored their fifth and fourth goals of the season, respectively, midway through stanza. After the fifth marker of the night, Luukkonen was replaced by Billy Christopoulos with 6:25 left to play.
Rochester was able to successfully kill off its third penalty of the night, but Cleveland scored late in the period to take a 6-2 cushion into the final period of play.
The Monsters, ahead by four goals and holding a 30-10 shot advantage, tacked on a two additional special teams goals to pull farther ahead, one from Sikura on the power-play and the other from Schemitsch while Cleveland was shorthanded.
Foudy capped off the scoring on the night with Cleveland's fourth power-play goal with just eight minutes left in regulation.
Luce opened the scoring for the Amerks, their third straight contest that they scored first and seventh overall, just 1:37 into the game. Cleveland countered the deficit with three goals during each of the three periods and blanked Rochester over the final 40 minutes.
The same two teams are set to face-off again on Wednesday, April 14 when the Amerks host the Monsters in a rematch at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 6:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester and AHLTV.
Amerks forward Steven Fogarty - https://youtu.be/xwLX7_Ocvws
Amerks defenseman Griffin Luce - https://youtu.be/lIjcQNrC08o
Amerks head coach Seth Appert - https://youtu.be/0TPMtGDMxto
ROC: G. Luce (2), S. Fogarty (6)
CLE: T. Angle (5), J. Dunne (2), M. Struthers (1 - GWG), C. Meyer (5), N. Gerbe (4), J. Christiansen (2), T. Sikura (7), T. Schemitsch (1), L. Foudy (2)
ROC: U. Luukkonen - 22/27 (L) | B. Christopoulos - 5/9 (ND)
CLE: M. Kivlenieks - 12/14 (W)
ROC: PP (0/2) | PK (5/9)
CLE: PP (4/9) | PK (2/2)
1. J. Christiansen (CLE)
2. T. Schemitsch (CLE)
3. L. Foudy (CLE)
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