Nylander stays hot, but Amerks fall 3-2
(Rochester, NY) – Despite opening the scoring less than four minutes into the contest, the Rochester Americans (24-33-0-2) concluded their four-game homestand Friday night with a 3-2 setback to the St. John’s IceCaps (28-25-7-1) at The Blue Cross Arena. The loss was the second in a week to the IceCaps, who scored three times in the second period before holding on for the win.
After capping off the scoring in Wednesday’s night win, Alexander Nylander opened Friday’s contest with his ninth marker of the season while Kyle Bonis added his eighth tally of the campaign. Goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has started 17 of the last 19 games for Rochester, stopped 20 of 23 in the losing effort. The second-year netminder owns a record of 22-22-2 on the season and has won four of his last seven starts dating back to Feb. 19.
Bobby Farnham and Max Friberg each collected a multi-point game (1+1) while Jacob de la Rose opened the scoring for the IceCaps. Rookie goalie Charlie Lindgren improved to 19-16-5 on the slate after making 18 saves. The netminder’s 19 victories rank second among all first-year goaltenders and are tied for sixth overall in the league.
When the Amerks and IceCaps took the ice for the second period, the home squad was leading on the scoreboard 1-0 following Nylander’s ninth goal of the season 3:13 into the contest. The IceCaps tied the contest at 1-1 less than five minutes into middle frame with de la Rose’s eighth goal of the season.
Rochester was able to regain the lead at the 10:47 mark after Bonis fired a shot from the half-wall. With the puck about to leave the IceCaps zone, Amerks defenseman Mat Bodie kept it in play just inside the blueline and move it to Tyson Strachan. The veteran blueliner found Bonis near the wall who then rifled a shot past Lindgren with Daniel Muzito-Bagenda providing a screen to give the Amerks a 2-1 lead with 9:13 in the period.
“The third line has done a good job for us,” said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert. “As a team, we need that secondary scoring, but unfortunately in this game, you do not win too many games when your best players are not your best players.”
The visitors, however, responded with the next two goals to cap off a second period that saw them erase a pair of one-goal deficits and outshot the Amerks 15-5.
“We had a good first period,” Lambert said. “In the second period, though, for some reason we decided to not get pucks deep in St. John’s zone, we turned the puck over too much and it cost us tonight. After they got the lead, we were unable to penetrate their defense and we got the result that we got.”
After being held off the scoreboard in last Friday’s contest against the IceCaps, the Amerks scored first 3:13 into the game. With the puck in the near corner, Cole Schneider fired a shot off Lindgren then tracked his own rebound before connecting with Nylander. With the tally, Nylander has four goals over his last eight games and three markers in his last five. The goal also gave him goals in back-to-back games for the first time all season. Schneider and Patrick Mullen recorded helpers on the goal and for Schneider it extends his assist streak to three games.
“I think I have been having good practices as of late and it is transitioning in games,” Nylander said. “Tonight, I got a really good pass from Schneider, so I just had to put the puck into the net. The credit should really go to him. We (Derek Grant and Schneider) are starting to develop some good chemistry, so we just have to keep getting better.”
The Amerks hit the road on Sunday, Mar. 12 when they visit the Springfield Thunderbirds for a 3:05 p.m. face-off at the MassMutual Center. The afternoon matinee will be just the second of four meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Nylander (9), Bonis (8)
STJ: de la Rose (8), Friberg (10), Farnham (9)
RCH: Ullmark – 30/33 (L)
STJ: Lindgren – 18/20 (W)
RCH: PP (0/3) / PK (2/2)
STJ: PP (0/2) / PK (3/3)