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 Rochester Americans

Amerks Outlast Islanders in Shootout for Sixth Straight Win

April 7, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release

(Bridgeport, CT) - The Rochester Americans (36-22-6-2) jumped out to a four-goal lead, survived a furious comeback, and yet still emerged victorious to earn their sixth straight win in a 5-4 shootout decision over the Bridgeport Islanders (24-36-6-2) Sunday afternoon at Total Mortgage Arena.

By extending their current win streak to a season-long six straight games, the Amerks have earned least one point in 24 of their last 32 games dating back to Jan. 17, which includes a 7-0-0-1 mark over its season-long eight-game point streak. The win also moves Rochester into sole possession of second place in the AHL's North Division standings, one point back of first-place Syracuse, going into the final five games of the regular season.

Michael Mersch (1+1), who sealed the win in Saturday's overtime contest at Providence, Mason Jobst (1+1) and Zach Metsa (0+2) all finished with multi-point efforts for Rochester, which played its league-leading 23rd game this season beyond regulation. Graham Slaggert and Jiri Kulich both added one goal each while Isak Rosén, Anton Wahlberg and Damien Giroux completed the scoring with an assist. Brandon Biro and Kulich scored in the shootout for Rochester while Viktor Neuchev's attempt was denied.

Goaltender Dustin Tokarski (11-9-3), who made his 24th appearance of the season, stopped 33 of the 37 shots he faced to earn his fourth straight win. The veteran netminder also made two saves in the shootout after making five in overtime.

Alex Jefferies, Samuel Asselin, Matthew Maggio all scored in the second period for Bridgeport while Dennis Cholowski netted his seventh in the final frame of regulation to help the Islanders storm back from a 4-0 deficit to ultimately force overtime. Asselin (1+1) finished with a multi-point outing while Maggio and Jefferies were unsuccessful in the shootout.

Goaltender Ken Appleby (10-10-1), who made his 22nd appearance of the slate and third straight, stopped 24 of the 29 shots he faced but was dealt the overtime loss.

Shortly after Rochester scored early in the middle period to push its lead to 4-0, the Islanders scored at the 2:10 mark of the frame on Jefferies' third of the season.

The home club used the momentum as they struck for a pair of tallies eight seconds apart to make it a one-goal game going into the final 20 minutes of play.

Eight minutes into the third period and following a face-off win to the left of Tokarski, Asselin slid the puck back to Cholowski at the point. The defenseman took advantage of the net-front traffic before roofing his seventh of the season to tie the game at a 4-4.

Despite each team finishing with double figures in shots in the stanza, the game remained tied, and overtime was required.

Seconds after the opening draw in the extra session, the Amerks were whistled for a tripping infraction.

Rochester's shorthanded unit rose to the occasion, much like the three previous penalties, successfully clearing the violation before earning its own man-advantage for the final 1:47. The Amerks had a pair of shots on their power-play, but the clock ran out while the score was still deadlocked.

Rochester elected to shoot first in the shootout, but after Neuchev was turned aside by Appleby, Biro gave the club a 1-0 lead.

Maggio and Jefferies were stonewalled by Tokarski in the first and second rounds of the skills competition before Kulich sealed the 5-4 shootout victory.

Less than four minutes into the contest, Metsa's shot attempt made its way to the left corner of the Islanders' zone. Mersch scooped up the rebound and fired an off angle shot which somehow found space and sailed over the left shoulder of Appleby to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead just 4:06 into the frame.

The Amerks cleared off their first penalty of the contest before striking two more times to extend the lead to 3-0 with nearly eight minutes remaining in the period.

After Jobst nearly made it a 2-0 game on a set-up from Ryan Johnson, the Ohio State University product responded immediately on the ensuing shift for his 20th of the campaign, becoming the second player his season to reach the mark.

Jobst was the recipient of an outlet pass at center ice by Walhberg before skating into the offensive zone alongside Mersch. As Jobst reached the top of the right circle, he quickly snapped a shot to double Rochester's lead at the 10:31 mark.

Nearly a minute later, Jeremy Davies flipped the puck out of the Amerks zone to Giroux, who cut through the center-ice logo before leaving it for Metsa. As Metsa carried the puck down the right wing, he sent a cross-ice feed for Slaggert to sweep into the net for his fifth of the season.

Bridgeport scored four unanswered goals to force overtime before Tokarski and the Amerks prevailed for the 5-4 shootout win.

The Amerks return home for a four-game homestand beginning on Friday, April 12 when they face the Belleville Senators in the first of back-to-back meetings at The Bue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV. The North Division matchup will also be televised locally on CW Rochester.

Stars and Stripes:

By recording his second straight two-point (1+1) performance, Michael Mersch, who finished the weekend with 399 career AHL points, has back-to-back multi-point games for the first time this season ... Anton Wahlberg completed the three-game week with one goal and two assists, his first three points of his North American professional career ... With today's win, the Amerks matched last season's win (36) and points total (81), which finished tied for second in the North Division standings.

Goal Scorers

ROC: M. Mersch (14), M. Jobst (20), G. Slaggert (5), J. Kulich (22)

BRI: A. Jefferies (3), S. Asselin (6), M. Maggio (16), D. Cholowski (7)


ROC: D. Tokarski - 33/37 (W)

BRI: K. Appleby - 25/29 (OTL)


ROC: 30

BRI: 37

Special Teams

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

BRI: PP (0/4) | PK (2/2)

Three Stars:

1. ROC - J. Kulich

2. BRI - S. Asselin

3. ROC - M. Jobst

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