With a 4-0 loss on Thursday night, the Rochester Americans head right back into game action on Friday night. Currently down two games to one in their series against the Chicago Wolves, the Amerks need a win tonight to stave off elimination.
The Amerks simply weren’t on point in Thursday night’s game. Wolves center Adam Cracknell had a strong impact in his first game back after the St. Louis Blues were eliminated from the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, Rochester didn’t put up enough shots, and things just didn’t fall into place.
Cracknell had two goals, seven shots and was a plus-1.
For the Amerks, Nick Petrecki and Rasmus Ristolainen led the team with three shots each, accounting for a combined 1/3 of the team’s overall shots. The team put up just 18 shots on Jake Allen, who was recently named the AHL’s Top Goaltender for the 2013-2014 season.
Rochester Americans goaltender Andrey Makarov stopped 26 of 30 shots faced.
Amerks fans who look at the game’s scoresheet may notice two things of note. First off, yes, Joel Armia did in fact get a five-for-fighting penalty. While no major punches were thrown, Armia did wrestle with Joe Corvo in a surprising move for both sides. Corvo’s last AHL fight came back in 2011, while Armia’s never had a fight in his (young) AHL career.
Mark Pysyk was also served with 12 penalty minutes. Pysyk flipped the puck out of play after Chicago’s shorthanded goal by Adam Cracknell in the first period and was given a 10-minute misconduct that kept him out the remainder of the first period and part of the second.
The loss puts Rochester in a bit of a bubble. Down two games to one, a win tonight is imperative to avoid their season ending. If the Amerks win tonight, the two teams will face off on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. EST in Chicago.
Here’s the good news: this is the first time in three seasons that the Rochester Americans didn’t get swept out of the first round. Both of the last two seasons, they lost out in three games in best-of-five first round to the Toronto Marlies.
The Amerks organization hasn’t made it to the second round of the AHL playoffs since before 2006 – that’s as far back as the AHL website holds schedule records – so if they do make it on to the next round, it would be a great accomplishment for the franchise.
If the Rochester Americans win out this series, their second-round opponent is already set. The Amerks would face the first-place Texas Stars, who swept the Oklahoma City Barons on Wednesday. If the Wolves end up winning this series, they’ll face the Toronto Marlies, who swept the Milwaukee Admirals on Thursday.
Tonight’s Rochester Americans vs. Chicago Wolves game begins at 8:30 p.m. EST and is being televised on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet in both Buffalo and Rochester, same as last night’s game. The television feed is produced by the Chicago Wolves. Fans looking for an Amerks broadcast can listen via radio on WHAM 1180.
Once again, the Amerks are hosting an official watch party for tonight’s game at the Mt. Hope location of the Distillery. The party will feature drawings for Amerks prizes as well as food and drink specials.
Those interested in attending can call ahead for reservations (585-271-4105).