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 Rochester Americans

Kulich, Levi Leads Amerks To Blowout Win Over Senators

April 13, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release


(Rochester, NY) - A night after going scoreless despite registering a career-high 11 shots, Jiri Kulich atoned with his second hat trick of the season as part of a career-best four-point performance in leading the Rochester Americans (37-23-6-2) to an 8-2 blowout win over the Belleville Senators (35-28-3-3) Saturday at The Blue Cross Arena.

The win moves the Amerks, who are playoff bound for the fifth straight year, info a first-place tie with Syracuse in the AHL's North Division standings heading into the final three games of the season.

With the victory, the Amerks, who are 11-2-0-1 in their last 14 games and have points in 26 of their last 35 dating back to Jan. 17, completed the season-series with a 3-3-0-1 record against Belleville. Rochester has finished with a .500 winning percentage or better in five of the first six seasons in the head-to-head series.

Along with Kulich recording a multi-point outing and a team-best plus-five rating, Isak Rosén (2+1), Michael Mersch (1+1), Jeremy Davies (0+2), Justin Richards (0+2), Aleksandr Kisakov (0+2), and Noah Laaouan (0+2) all chipped in a multi-point performance. Laaouan's two assists were his first two points with Rochester after being acquired back in January.

Zach Metsa (1+0), Mason Jobst (1+0), Brandon Biro (0+1), Nikita Novikov (0+1), Anton Wahlberg (0+1) and Damien Giroux (0+1) all registered one point each for Rochester, who boasts a 7-1-0-1 record in its last nine home games.

Goaltender Devon Levi (14-6-3), who made his 23rd appearance of the season and second straight against Belleville, stopped 20 of the 22 shots he faced to win his 14th contest. The rookie netminder has won seven of his last eight starts and nine of 10 dating back to the start of March.

Wyatt Bongiovanni and Kyle Betts both scored in the third period for Belleville, which entered the game winners of five straight to remain in the hunt of a playoff spot. Goaltender Kevin Mandolese (10-9-2) made his 23rd appearance of the season and was replaced by netminder Leevi Merilainen (9-9-1) after allowing three goals on five shots in the first period. Merilainen stopped 17 of the 22 shots he faced in 49 minutes of relief while Mandolese took the loss.

Nearly five minutes into the opening period, Davies dumped the puck down the left wall inside the Senators zone. Kisakov forced a turnover before he backhanded a pass to the corner for Rosén. The Swedish forward emerged from the wall, and as he cut towards the net, he slipped a shot between the legs of the netminder to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later after Rosén's 17th of the season and first of the period, Jobst controlled a loose rebound to the left of the net and doubled Rochester's lead.

Before gathering the puck, Jobst exchanged a give-and-go pass with Wahlberg atop the offensive zone. Wahlberg's initial shot glanced off Mersch then dropped towards the corner for Jobst.

Later in the stanza, Kulich pressured a Senator into the left corner before Richards grabbed the puck and slid it up the wall. Davies retrieved the feed and fired it towards the net for Rosén to redirect past Mandolese with 8:54 left in the period.

To conclude the opening period during which Rochester outshot Belleville 15-4, Giroux rimmed the puck around the wall to Levi's left. Richards snagged the pass and centered it to Metsa, who scored from inside the blueline.

Following the intermission break, the Amerks pushed the lead to 5-0 as they utilized just seven seconds into a 5-on-3 power-play.

On Belleville's second infraction, Jobst won the draw back to Kulich from the left face-off dot. The latter connected with Biro on a pass before Mersch snapped home his 15th goal of the slate at the 13:39 mark.

The Amerks extended the lead after they killed the first of consecutive too-many-men infractions as Kulich finished off a breakaway with 2:55 left in the frame. Laaouan blocked a shot from in-front of Levi before the puck caromed to Kulich atop the face-off dots.

To kick off the third period, Kulich wired his second of the contest from Novikov and Laaouan to push Rochester's cushion to 7-0.

Belleville spoiled Levi's bid for his first professional shutout with a pair of goals in a four-minute span, but Kulich closed out the 8-2 contest with his third goal of the contest from Rosén and Kisakov.

The Amerks begin their final week of the 2023-24 regular season on Wednesday, April 17 when they welcome the Toronto Marlies back to The Blue Cross Arena for the final time this season. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.

Stars and Stripes:

Amerks forward Jiri Kulich notched his second hat trick of the season and totaled a career-high four-point effort while also celebrating his 19th birthday ... Isak Rosén (2+1) came recorded his fourth career two-goal contest while Justin Richards, Jeremy Davies, Aleksandr Kisakov, and Noah Laaouan all recorded two assists apiece ... Rochester's four goals in the first period were the most against Belleville in the opening period while the eight overall marked a season-high.

Goal Scorers

BEL: W. Bongiovanni (14), K. Betts (5)

ROC: I. Rosén (17,18), M. Jobst (22), Z. Metsa (7), M. Mersch (15), J. Kulich (23,24,25)

Goaltenders

BEL: K. Mandolese - 2/5 (L) | L. Merilainen - 17/22 (ND)

ROC: D. Levi - 20/22 (W)

Shots

BEL: 22

ROC: 27

Special Teams

BEL: PP (0/4) | PK (2/3)

ROC: PP (1/3) | PK (4/4)

Three Stars:

1. ROC - J. Kulich

2. ROC - D. Levi

3. ROC - I. Rosén


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