Amerks Split Weekend Set with Monsters
(Cleveland, OH) - Less than 24 hours after holding the Cleveland Monsters (13-12-4-3) to a single goal, the Rochester Americans (20-12-2-1) were unable to duplicate the effort despite a team-high three-point effort (1+2) from JJ Peterka in Saturday's rematch with the Monsters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The 7-3 loss snaps Rochester's five-game point streak and keeps the Amerks, who suffered their first regulation loss Jan. 8, three points back of the Utica Comets for first place in the American Hockey League's North Division standings.
SCORING SUMMARY 1 2 3 OT SO FINAL
Rochester 1 1 1 -- -- 3
Cleveland 2 2 3 -- -- 7
Along with Peterka scoring his eighth goal of the season, Linus Weissbach also notched his eighth while Michael Mersch recorded his 18th, which is tied for the team-lead and ranks second in the league. Over his last 20 games dating back to Nov. 24, Mersch been held scoreless just five times over that span to move into a third-place tie in the AHL in scoring with 36 points (18+18) on the season.
Brandon Biro, who has 18 points (5+13) over his last 17 games dating back to Nov. 27, Ethan Prow, and Ryan Scarfo all recorded an assist for the Amerks, who have earned points in 15 of their last 22 games dating back to Nov. 19. Goaltender Charles Williams (0-1-1) made 20 saves in his second appearance with the club but suffered the defeat.
Cleveland forward Brendan Guance, who entered the weekend leading the Monsters in goals on the year, and Trey Fix-Wolansky both finished with hat tricks. Dillon Simpson (1+1) also turned in a multi-point effort for Cleveland, which evened the season-series to 2-2-0-0 through the first 10 games. Rookie netminder Jet Greaves improved to 3-3-0 on the campaign as he stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced in his seventh appearance with club.
The Amerks began the final 20 minutes of play trailing 4-2 but pulled within one as Peterka finished off centering feed from Scarfo and Prow with 7:44 remaining in regulation. However, the German forward's tally was as close as Rochester would get before Cleveland finished off the matchup with three straight tallies, two of which were while Williams' was pulled for an extra skater, 1:24 apart to take a 7-3 advantage.
Things started well for Rochester as they drew a pair of penalties just 12 seconds apart to gain a 5-on-3 power-play six minutes into the opening period.
On the two-man-advantage, Mersch dumped the puck inside the Monsters zone from the left side of the neutral zone. Racing to dig the puck out from behind the net, Peterka one-touched a pass to Biro as he came down the wall. As Biro reached the top of the goal-line to the right of Greaves, he centered a pass for Mersch to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead at the 7:23 mark.
With the power-play tally, Rochester has scored 12 power-play goals in its last 14 games against Cleveland dating back to the start of the 2019-20 season, going 12-for-56 (21.4%) with the man-advantage over that span.
By Biro earning the primary assist, he shows one goal and seven assists over his last six games.
Cleveland, however, was awarded its own power-play six minutes later and Gaunce evened the score with his first of three on the afternoon. Just 58 seconds later, the Monsters took a 2-1 lead as Fix-Wolansky capitalized on a turnover inside the Rochester zone.
The Amerks chipped into the Cleveland lead as Weissbach and Peterka crossed paths on their way towards the net. As the duo switched places, Peterka handed Weissbach the puck in-between the face-off dots and Weissbach swept a shot past the blocker of Greaves at the 7:25 mark.
Fix-Wolansky and Gaunce both scored in succession to double Cleveland's lead to 4-2 before the end of the second intermission.
Peterka finished off his three-point outing 12:16 into the third period, but the Monsters added three more in the final 1:52 to secure the 7-3 win.
The Amerks return home for their second four-game homestand of the campaign beginning on Friday, Jan. 28 when they welcome the Syracuse Crunch back for another intrastate showdown at The Blue Cross Arena at 7:05 p.m. All the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
CLEVELAND GAMECENTER ROCHESTER
B. Gaunce (12, 13, 14), T. Fix-Wolansky (7, 8, 9), D. Simpson (2) GOAL-SCORERS M. Mersch (18), L. Weissbach (8), J, Peterka (8)
J. Greaves - 31/34 (W) GOALTENDERS C. Williams - 20/25 (L)
1-2 POWER-PLAY 1-3
2-3 PENALTY KILL 1-2
27 SHOTS ON GOAL 34
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