Amerks shutout by Crunch at home
(Rochester, NY) – In a potential playoff preview between the Rochester Americans (35-22-11-6) and North Division rival Syracuse Crunch (45-21-3-5), the two clubs combined for 14 penalties but the Amerks came up empty-handed in a 1-0 loss at The Blue Cross Arena.
Despite Wednesday night’s setback, the Amerks show a record of 5-2-1-0 in their last eight contest and hold a two-point lead on the Utica Comets for the third spot in the AHL’s North Division standings going into the last four days of the regular season.
Justin Bailey had a game-high five shots while Colin Blackwell saw his career-long point-streak come to an end at seven games. During his point streak, the second-year pro tallied 15 points (9+6) while adding 21 points (10+11) along with seven multi-point efforts dating back to Mar. 11. In his first game back in Rochester after missing the last 12 while on recall with the Buffalo Sabres, goaltender Linus Ullmark made 17 saves but was tagged with the loss. The Swedish netminder boasts a 20-12-10 record in 43 appearances this season.
Fourth-year forward Matthew Peca scored his 13th goal of the season for the Crunch, who have a 6-1-1-1 record against the Amerks in the head-to-head series this season, while netminder Connor Ingram recorded his fourth shutout of the campaign. In four games against Rochester, the rookie netminder boasts a 2-0-1 record to go along with a 1.34 goals-against average.
Neither the Amerks nor the Crunch found the back of the net in the opening 40 minutes as the two rivals combined for 13 infractions, including eight in the first seven minutes of the tilt.
“We had a lot of good chances tonight,” Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said. “I think we had close to 75 shots attempts, which is really good for us. I really liked our chances. We had some good opportunities but were not able to capitalize on those chances and they were able to score on the chance they had.”
As the two clubs emerged from the locker room scoreless to begin the final frame, Reid McNeill fired a shot from the left point towards Ullmark. The shot went wide of the cage and caromed off the end boards to Carter Verhaeghe. The forward slid a cross-crease pass to Peca, who shot the puck past the defenseless netminder.
The Syracuse goal came just 1:22 into the third period.
Rochester continued to test Ingram, but the rookie goaltender could not be cracked as he stopped all 14 shots he faced during the final frame to preserve the shutout and victory.
“I think we played a pretty solid game,” said Casey Nelson, who returned to the Amerks lineup after spending nearly three months with the Sabres. “While we unfortunately did not score, I think we played well. We just have to put pucks behind their defensemen and get bodies to the net.”
Rochester concludes its home portion of the 2017-18 regular season on Friday, April 13 when the Amerks welcome the Belleville Senators back to The Blue Cross Arena on Fan Appreciation Night. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the second meeting in the last seven days and the final contest of the season between the two teams. All the action can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
SYR: Peca (13)
RCH: Ullmark – 17/18 (L)
SYR: Ingram – 38/38 (W)
RCH: PP (0/6) | PK (4/4)
SYR: PP (0/4) | PK (6/6)