The Rochester Americans knew that Friday’s game could be their last if they came out with a loss. After a 4-0 loss on Thursday, the team was on the precipice of being eliminated by the Chicago Wolves.
But a 7-2 win on Friday for the Rochester Americans would even up the series at two games apiece, leading into a decisive game five that’ll take place this evening at Chicago’s Allstate Arena.
The Amerks struck early and often on Friday. Four of Rochester’s goals came in the first period, including two goals just eight seconds apart in the first 1:39 of the game. Joel Armia notched his second goal of the postseason, while Nick Crawford scored his first of the playoffs to give the Amerks an early 2-0 lead.
Minutes later, it seemed like it would be a game of “you score, we score,” as the Wolves made it 2-1 just five minutes in on a goal by Nathan Longpre.
The Amerks weren’t done with their first-period rampage. Armia would score his second goal of the first period on the power play, while Brayden Irwin would add Rochester’s fourth goal later in the first.
The Amerks would score twice more in the middle frame, with goals by Frederick Roy and Brayden Irwin (PP). The Wolves would change goaltenders, pulling Jake Allen and putting in Matt Climie after Roy’s goal.
Joel Armia had a four-point night, scoring two goals and assisting on Roy and Larsson’s goals. Irwin had two goals, while Kevin Porter had a trio of assists. Larsson also had a goal and assist.
Andrey Makarov had 28 saves in the win, and the Amerks were 3-for-8 on the power play. Whatever they did on Friday worked, so if they can pull that out for tonight’s do-or-die game five….. they just might pull off another win.
The Amerks/Wolves series is the lone undecided first-round series in the AHL, and the other first-round winners in the Western Conference are waiting on the outcome of tonight’s game to see who they’ll play in the next round.
Here’s the possibilities:
- If RCH wins: Rochester/Texas, Toronto/Grand Rapids
- If CHI wins: Chicago/Toronto, Texas/Grand Rapids
Eastern Conference semifinal matchups are set, with St. John’s vs. Norfolk beginning Tuesday. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Providence will begin Friday.
Fans in both Buffalo and Rochester are reminded that tonight’s game, which begins at 4 p.m. EST, will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.