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 Rochester Americans

Mersch Leads Amerks to 5-3 Win over Penguins

February 17, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Rochester Americans News Release


(Rochester, NY) -A pair of goals in each of the second and third periods combined with a career-high 41-save effort by rookie goaltender Devon Levi helped Rochester Americans (23-16-5-1) earn a 5-3 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (25-17-6-1) Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.

With the victory, which closes out the season-series with the Penguins, the Amerks have points in nine of their last 12 games dating back to Jan. 17. After being swept in the two-game season-series in 2017-18 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Rochester has gone a near-perfect 9-1-0-1 in the 11 meetings since, including winning each of the last four meetings on home ice.

The trio of Michael Mersch (2+1), Mason Jobst (0+3), and Linus Weissbach (1+1) combined for three goals and five assists as each turned in a multi-point performance. Tyson Kozak, who tallied a career-high three-point outing on Wednesday, and Jiri Kulich both scored in the second and third periods, respectively. Defensemen Joseph Cecconi and Jeremy Davies each notched an assist in the win.

Levi (5-2-2), who made his ninth appearance of the campaign and fifth straight, turned aside 41 of the 44 shots he faced, both of which were career-highs in the AHL. The rookie netminder has made 30 or more saves in six of his nine games with the Amerks this season, which includes each of his last three contests.

Ryan Shea, Ty Smith, and Radim Zohorna all scored for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, which entered the matchup riding a four-game point streak (2-0-1-1) to begin the month of February. Goaltender Magnus Hellberg (8-7-2), who made his 17th appearance of the season, stopped 23 of 27 for the Penguins.

After seeing the Penguins score twice in 31 seconds take a 2-1 lead late in the final minutes of the first period, Rochester flipped the deficit into a one-goal cushion.

The Penguins kept the Amerks inside their own zone before Levi steered a shot to the right circle for Jobst. The Speedway, Indiana, native retrieved the puck and sprinted up the ice alongside Mersch. As Rochester's team captain gathered the feed, he used Jobst as a screen before unleashing a shot over Hellberg's shoulder to even the score.

Later in the stanza, Kozak won the draw to the left defense. Davies carried the puck through the neutral zone, and prior to reaching the blueline, he rimmed it around the boards and behind the net. While Hellberg attempted to stop the puck, it glanced off the glass and a Penguins' skate for Kozak to spin and fire into the net at the 17:47 mark.

Rochester carried the 3-2 lead into the third period before Kulich retrieved an outlet pass from Cecconi in the neutral zone. The AHL All-star took a few strides then cut to the middle of the circles and snapped his team-leading 17th goal of the season past the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goaltender.

While the Penguins chipped into the deficit on Smith's goal nearly two minutes later, Weissbach tracked down Mersch's clearing attempt in the final two minutes of regulation and scored his 10th of the season as Hellberg was pulled for an extra attacker.

Just over three minutes into the contest, Viktor Neuchev intercepted a pass deep inside the Penguins zone to keep the puck inside the visitors end of the ice. Eventually, Davies held the puck in the corner before he slid it to Weissbach along the right halfwall. The Swedish forward gave a pass to Jobst to blast towards the net only for a redirection by Mersch to open the scoring 3:09 into the contest for his seventh of the campaign.

The Amerks held the lead despite being unable to capitalize on a pair of power-plays, but Wilkes-Barre/Scranton closed out the period with a pair of tallies in the final minute of play.

Shea scooped up a loose puck just inside Rochester's blueline and made his way into the right circle before roofing a shot over Levi's shoulder to even the score at one at the 18:56 mark.

On the ensuing shift, the Penguins seized a 2-1 lead when Zohorna stepped out from the near corner after gathering a pass from Peter Abbandonato and tucked a shot under the crossbar.

After the Amerks were outshot 16-8 in the first period and trailed 2-1, the club responded with four of the game's next five goals to complete the 5-3 comeback victory.

The Amerks continue their busy stretch as they host the Utica Comets on Sunday, Feb. 18 for a 3:05 p.m. contest. 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:

Mason Jobst, who had a career-high three assists tonight, has recorded 16 (6+10) of his 31 points this season over his last 16 games to begin 2024 ... With his goal tonight, Tyson Kozak became the 17th different Amerk this season to record 10 or more points ... Kozak's 10 points through 29 games this season matches his point total from the 2022-23 campaign ... The Amerks, who finished the season-series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by showing a 1-1-0-0 record, have not had a losing record versus the Penguins since the 2016-17 campaign.

Goal Scorers

WBS: R. Shea (1), R. Zohorna (3), T. Smith (9)

ROC: M. Mersch (7, 8), T. Kozak (4), J. Kulich (17 - GWG), L. Weissbach (10)

Goaltenders

WBS: M. Hellberg - 23/27 (L)

ROC: D. Levi - 41/44 (W)

Shots

WBS: 44

ROC: 28

Special Teams

WBS: PP (0/2) | PK (5/5)

ROC: PP (0/5) | PK (2/2)

Three Stars:

1. ROC - M. Mersch

2. ROC - M. Jobst

3. ROC - T. Kozak


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