I took the day off to day because I had a doctor’s appointment this morning. Plus, I didn’t want to go back to work afterwards. My wife and I then began to develop a plan for the day. We knew that the day would end at the Amerks game as they took on the Hamilton Bulldogs. It was another big adventure in Rochester at Blue Cross Arena.
The Amerks went on the power play pretty much immediately. 24 seconds in, Michael Bournival got called for a hook after he tripped one of the Amerks. As soon as that power play ended, at 2:40, Joonas Nattinen took a boarding penalty and sent the Amerks on the attack again. For these 2 power plays, the Amerks had about 30 seconds of good pressure on the Bulldogs. The biggest problem that I noticed was that the Amerks had a knack to go through the neutral zone 4 strong, 1 player trailing the rush. Then, whoever had the puck for the Amerks, would drop it back to the guy who was trailing the rush. Guess what? It didn’t work. I watched the Sabres do it a ton of times last year. Didn’t work then, doesn’t work here. Luckily, the Amerks stopped it fairly quickly.
After the two power plays, Rochester kept great pressure on Hamilton. At 6:31, Biega let a shot from the point go, and rookie Zemgus Girgensons deflected it past Bulldog’s goalie Robert Mayer to put the Amerks up 1-0.
For about 10 minutes after Biega’s goal, it was all Hamilton. Leggio looked solid in goal, and kept the game 1-0 at that point. Rochester looked like that had trouble keeping up with the Bulldogs, but were able to prevent them from getting good scoring opportunities and blocked several shots.
The defining moment of the period, so I felt, was when Brendan Gallagher of the Bulldogs plowed over David Leggio. The next thing I see, is TJ Brennan taking out Gallagher, and making sure he stayed on the ice until things were straightened out. Gallagher got creamed, and then had to sit for 2 minutes after being called for interference. It was great to see the Amerks stand up for their goalie. Hodgson had a great opportunity on the break-away to put the Amerks up 2-0, but he wasn’t able to get his shot away. Rochester went 0-3 on the power play up to this point. The period ended 1-0, Amerks in the lead. The Amerks had some scary moments, but presented as being in control for the most of the period.
At this point in time, my wife took the ice. No, I’m not kidding. At every Amerks game, we always sign up to play “Score-O”. This is when Amerks’ staff brings several big boards, with slits in the bottom, that the 2 competitors have to shoot a puck through. The company that sponsor’s each board gives a gift certificate away if you can shoot the puck through the slit. Well, my wife got picked to go tonight. Much to my surprise (I’m going to get hit for this), she made some really good shots! She didn’t win anything (just got hit as she reads over my shoulder), but still made good shots. No, she didn’t apologize for hitting me.
Onto the 2nd period. My wife returned and showed me the one month free membership to Harro East Athletic Club. That was her prize. I think she’s trying to tell me I need to lose weight. She then went off to get nachos, and a beer for me.
While she was gone, I watched Evan Rankin shoot a puck out of play while he was in his own end, and sent the Bulldogs to the power play. The captain, Kevin Porter got a great short handed chance, but was robbed by Mayer. I could hear Rick Jeanneret screaming “Call a cop he robbed em!”. However, the kill continued to look good for the Amerks. Rankin came right out of the box and crushed one of the Bulldogs. Then, Girgensons crushed Darryl Boyce of the Bulldogs, and Boyce retaliated with a good two handed slash. Boyce then headed to the box for 2 minutes and the Amerks failed to score on yet another power play.
My wife came back with a beer (and nachos), and I informed her how things were starting to get physical. I alluded to a fight breaking out. Shortly after I said that, at 7:33, Frederick Roy pummeled Gallagher and both sat for 5 minutes. Shortly after the fight, Boyce took another penalty, this time for a crosscheck. Again, the Amerks couldn’t score. They had a good penalty kill when Porter got called for a hook. The period ended with McNabb taking a holding penalty. The Bulldogs got some good scoring opportunities and had 3 very quick shots on Leggio, all of which he turned away. The 2nd period ended the same way as the first, 1-0 Amerks.
The Amerks killed the carry over of McNabb’s penalty. Shortly after that ended, Gabriel Dumont took a high sticking penalty and sent the Amerks to the power play for the 6th time. Mancari, who played a lot of time on the point for the power play tonight, tried to throw the puck to Porter, who was in the slot. It was a bad pass, and hit Porter in his skate. However, due to the angle of Porter’s skate, and that it was a hard pass, it was redirected (non kicking motion), and went past Mayer to give the Amerks 2-0 lead.
In less than a minute, Brendon Nash let a shot go from the point that was redirected by Gallagher past Leggio to cut into the Amerks lead. The Amerks continued to fight the Bulldogs, as the moron in front of me started to talk.
“Hey, Teppo Numminen is coaching for the Amerks.”
Umm, you’re in Rochester, not Buffalo. He’s not over there. Jay McKee is not there. The assistant coaches as Chadd Casey, Chris Taylor, and Bob Janosz. This is from the Amerks game notes from tonight.
This individual let several priceless gems fly tonight, but the Numminen one is the winner. Explaining how a player was hustling, as he stood still at the point was pretty good too. The comment “Let ‘em know you’re there” during a tussle on the ice was good. It was one of those where everyone kind of comes together and pushes and shoves each other. I think they were aware of each other, but I could be wrong. And no, this guy wasn’t drinking.
The game continued until Foligno drilled one of the Bulldogs in the Rochester end. Immediately following that hit, the Amerks let Boyce get alone towards the front of the net. He was able to make his maneuver, and slide the puck just past Leggio’s outstretched pad to tie the game at 2 with 4:21 left in the game. Both teams exchanged good opportunities, but we headed to overtime.
Overtime had plenty of great opportunities for both sides. However, no one could manage to slip one past the opposing goalie, and we headed to the shootout.
Leggio stopped the first 3 shooters for the Bulldogs. The Amerks led off with Phil Varone who faked out Mayer and slipped the puck through the 5-hole. Flynn then scored for Rochester to give them a 2-0 lead in the shootout. As I listened to the individual in front of me explain how the shoot out was over (as the 3rd shooter started to take his shot for the Bulldogs), Leggio made another spectacular save. It was over again as TJ Brennan was stopped on his shootout opportunity to leave it 2-0 in the shoot out for Rochester after 3 rounds. Boyce let a snap shot go to beat Leggio to make it 2-1 in the 4th round of the shootout. However, the joy for the Bulldogs was short lived as Marcus Foligno let a quick wrist shot go, and beat Mayer to give the Amerks the 3-2 win in overtime.
3. Zemgus Girgensons- First professional goal
2. Brendan Gallagher of the Bulldogs
1. David Leggio- 29 saves
For the most part, the Amerks looked pretty good tonight. They had a few momentary lapses where they didn’t seem to want to body check any of the Bulldogs. Plus, the power play was a little lackluster tonight. They went 1 for 7 on the power play. The penalty kill remained stellar and firm tonight.
Overall, it was a solid win for the Amerks. Next up, they travel north of the border to Hamilton for part 2 of this weekends home and home series. This win improves the Amerks to 2-0 over the Hamilton Bulldogs this season. The Amerks also remain on top of their division with 13 points.
Final from Rochester- Amerks 3, Bulldogs 2.