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Americans crush Rocket in Cederqvist's return to Rochester

By: Brayden Peters

Forward Tyson Jost warms up with his teammates. Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Americans bounce back from their shutout loss against Utica, beating the Laval Rocket 7-4. Brett Murray led the Amerks with two goals and two assists while Tyson Jost and Victor Neuchev each had three point outings. Nikita Novikov had the first multipoint game of his career. Eric Comrie totaled 31 saves in the win.

The first period was an absolute goal fest. Rochester got off to a hot start after forward Michael Mersch scored on a one timer to put the team up 1-0. This was thanks to forward Mason Jobst moving quickly up ice and towards the slot. With the goal, Mersch now has six on the year.

However, the Rocket responded a little over a minute later, with forward Emil Heineman burying a wrist shot past goalie Comrie from the slot. It seemed like Laval had a rhythm on offense as even before anyone scored, they moved up the ice quickly. This was short lived though.

Mersch passes the puck to a teammate. Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point

The Americans went on an offensive rampage, hammering shots at goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo. Soon enough, defenseman Novikov scored on a pass from forward Jost. It was Novikov's first career goal in the AHL.

Novikov's goal wasn't the only interesting statistic at that point in the game. The Americans managed to score their two goals on three shots on goal.

As the offense started rolling for the Americans, so did the defense. They created plethora of turnovers in the neutral zone, halting the Rocket's offensive progress. With those turnovers, Rochester created more scoring opportunities as on a shot from Novikov, forward Justin Richards deflected it into the net off of his skate, putting the Americans up 3-1 over the Rocket.

This was Richards's fifth goal of the season. With Novikov picking up the assist, he officially had his first multi-point game in his AHL career.

"It felt great," Novikov said.

On Richards's goal, Novikov initially thought that he just scored the second goal of his AHL career.

Richards tries to capitalize on a scoring opportunity. Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point

Late in the first Kaskisuo made a bad pass that was intercepted by Neuchev. He fed the puck to a wide open Murray to put the puck in the net for his sixth goal of the year. With Rochester up 4-1, Kaskisuo was replaced with Strauss Mann.

Outside of the rough goalie play from the Rocket, their defense looked like they were in shambles. They gave up major, high quality scoring chances and didn't seem to keep up with the American's fast-paced offense.

As for the second period, the Americans seemed to have run into a few roadblocks. The Rocket were finally able to maintain a solid offensive rhythm as they gradually applied pressure on the Americans' defense. Because of this, Heineman was able to pick up his second goal of the game.

The Rocket continued to apply pressure offensively on the Americans' defense thanks to their forecheck. As for the Americans, they struggled to find the same success as they had in the first half of the first period. However, after a face-off down in the Rocket's end of the ice, the offense came out firing. However, Mann has stayed strong in net, not giving up any freebees to the Americans.

Rochester was finally able to get the puck pass Mann as Neuchev scored off a rebound to extend Rochester's lead to three goals.

Neuchev celebrating his goal. Photo Credit: M. Veluvolu/Rochester Americans

"...Neuchev was excellent tonight," Rochester head coach Seth Appert said. "...we still expect Neuchev, when he's playing with those guys to make plays and play the way that we want to play as an organization."

Ever since that goal, Rochester was slicing and dicing their way through the Rocket defense and towards the crease. However, they couldn't capitalize on a couple of excellent scoring opportunities.

In poetic fashion, Cederqvist scored off of a rebound after the Americans gave up a turnover in their own zone, making the score 5-3 in favor of Rochester. It was his sixth goal of the year and first with Laval.

"I told him I fully expected...that he'd score against us and that I will smile underneath," Appert said. "...he's a great kid, and I root for all my players throughout the rest of their careers..."

The Rocket opened up the third period in similar fashion as the second period. Rochester had other ideas. Forward Linus Weissbach buried a back hand shot past Mann glove side to extend the Americans' lead up to three goals. It was Weissbach's ninth goal of the season.

Linus Weissbach. Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point

The Americans really started to apply offensive pressure on Laval after the goal. This was a consistent theme throughout the game. Rochester just couldn't seem to be stopped as Murray drove up ice, made a deke, and buried a wrist shot, giving the team seven goals for the night. With that goal, he now has seven for the season and it was his fourth point on the evening.

"I feel really fortunate..." Murray said. "...Jostie (Jost) made a great play...and Neuchev finishing on the felt good."

As quickly as the Americans scored, the Rocket scored right back. Forward Jan Mysak scored a wrist shot from the slot while shorthanded, cutting Rochester's lead to three goals. The Rocket started to amp things up offensively a little bit, but the goal had little to no effect on the Americans. Comrie didn't make things any easier for the Rocket's offense, making many clutch saves.

Murray looks to skate behind the net. Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point

Laval's last ditch efforts weren't enough, falling 7-4. It was a good day for Appert and the Americans. Although Brandon Biro didn't play due to an injury, a lot of veteran players stepped up for the team.

"...we got through good defense," Appert said. "We played good, solid hard defense and forced turnovers, and then that got our transition going the other direction."

With the win, the team jumps the Rocket in the standings for third place in the North Division, sitting with a record of 20-14-3-1. The Americans will take on the Syracuse Crunch next at home on Wednesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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