Amerks hold off Thunderbirds for 2-1 win
Springfield, MA - The Rochester Americans (13-5-3-2) picked up their seventh road win of the season as they came away with a 2-1 victory against the Springfield Thunderbirds (9-16-1-0) at MassMutual Center Friday night in the first of a three-game weekend trek through the Atlantic Division.
With the win, the Amerks have notched points in seven straight games, which ties a season-long stretch, and 14 of their last 15 games dating back to Nov. 1. Rochester also improved to 7-1-3-1 in 12 games away from The Blue Cross Arena this season.
The Amerks were led by Seth Griffith and Kyle Criscuolo, who returned to the Amerks following an eight-game stint with the Buffalo Sabres earlier in the week. While Griffith pushed his point (2+1) streak to three games with his second goal of the season, Criscuolo recorded his sixth marker of the slate. Goaltender Linus Ullmark made 18 saves in the contest and now holds a share of the league-lead with 11 wins on the season. Over his last 10 starts, the Swedish netminder has gone 8-0-2 without a lost in regulation.
Springfield avoided being shutout as Maxime Fortunus chipped in his first goal as a Thunderbird during the third period, while rookie netminder Samuel Montembeault would suffer his fourth-straight loss despite stopping 37 of 39.
Following a face-off just outside the Thunderbirds blueline, Criscuolo was sent into the offensive zone on a partial breakaway from the hash marks in towards Montembeault. The second-year pro faked a forehanded shot before slipping the puck under the goaltender to push the Amerk lead to 2-0 with 12:42 left in the final period.
C.J. Smith and Zack Redmond teamed up for the helpers on the play.
Later in the stanza, the Thunderbirds spoiled Ullmark’s bid for a shutout as Fortunus scooped up a loose rebound opportunity and buried his first goal of the campaign to trim the Amerks lead at the 12:31 mark.
While Fortunus made it a one-goal game, that would be as close as the Thunderbirds would get as the Amerks drew a late interference penalty to keep the hosts pinned in their own zone for the final minute.
Rochester opened the scoring as Griffith bagged his second of the season 7:15 into the opening period. Griffith gained control of the puck near the Amerks blueline and went the length of the ice before sniping the puck short-side to break the scoreless game. Casey Nelson and Brendan Guhle each were awarded the helpers on the play. Guhle now shows five points (2+3) during his career-long five-game point-streak.
Following a scoreless second period, the Amerks, who had a 26-13 shot advantage, held a 1-0 lead going into the final frame.
Rochester continues its weekend trek through the Atlantic Division on Saturday, Dec. 9 when the Amerks visit the Hartford Wolf Pack for a 7:30 p.m. face-off at XL Center before taking on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. All of the action from both games will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Griffith (2), Criscuolo (6)
SPR: Fortunus (1)
RCH: Ullmark – 18/19 (W)
SPR: Montembeault– 35/37 (L)
RCH: PP (0/3) | PK (3/3)
SPR: PP (0/3) | PK (3/3)