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Amerks explode in return home

By: Aiden Locke

ROCHESTER, NY--- The Rochester Americans played possibly their most complete game in their return home after a three-game road trip. The Amerks lit up the scoreboard in 6-0 over Atlantic division foe, Lehigh Valley.

"It starts with goaltending," Amerks head coach Seth Appert said. "The end of the first could have been 2-2, end of the third it could have been 3-3, 3-2 whatever. Comms (Eric Comrie) made easy saves easy and he made a couple of big ones as well."

Goaltender Eric Comrie got the nod in net for Rochester and he delivered making 32 saves on 32 shots against. That gave Rochester their first shutout of the season. On the other end Felix Sandstrom was in-between the pipes for the Phantoms in a rough outing making just 14 saves on 20 shots faced. Comrie has had a strong start in Rochester after being sent down from Buffalo. In three starts Comrie is 2-1-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and a .951 save percentage.

#31 goaltender Eric Comrie getting in position to save a shot from #28 Olle Lyckell. Photo credit: Rochester Americans.

"I was quite happy again tonight, I felt really good," Comrie said. "The team also played excellent in front of me, the team was outstanding."

With this great defensive performance came an excellent night for the Rochester penalty kill, turning away all five powerplay chances Lehigh Valley had.

The offense also made a major impact on this game for Rochester with four different Amerks recording multi-point nights. The goals were scored in a way that is a bit unfamiliar for the Amerks, four of the six goals were scored in some sort of puck battle or duel in front of the net. The chippy and gritty goals that a team has to work extra hard for. The brunt of Rochester's goal scoring comes by way of their skilled players making great plays, but the goals tonight had to come the hard way.

The Rochester Americans celebrating a goal. Photo credit: Rochester Americans.

"It's great to get rewarded," Appert said. "We've been emphasizing that the last six weeks. The last two years we've been a really good offensive team but it's not just because we've had skill, we've scored a lot of what we refer to as blue paint goals, screens, tips, rebounds."

Amerks forward Brandon Biro got the goal scoring going early for Rochester. A great team play to win the puck back in neutral ice set up a rush. A combination of passes from Davies, Metsa and finally to Biro set up Biro a few feet from the blue. He would bury the one timer to put the Amerks ahead just a minute and a half into the game.

#10 forward Brandon Biro giving his team high-fives after his goal. Photo credit: Rochester Americans.

"Especially early when you can get a point or two, it just changes the game," Biro said. "It gets the legs feeling better, the puck feels better and your stick can just relax."

Lukas Rousek would extend his point streak to 11 games with an assist to Brett Murray who was posted up in the slot and was able to get a tap-in five-hole through Sandstrom for the second goal of the game.

After a fast start in the first period, Rochester had a tougher time finding the back of the net in the second period as the Lehigh Valley defense started ramping up their pressure and physicality to try and slow down the Amerks. Rochester's shot total on the night is a bit deceiving due to the shot-blocking effort by the Phantoms, the Amerks pressure was constant throughout the night and Linus Weissbach would be rewarded with his sixth goal of the season in the second period.

#13 forward Linus Weissbach celebrating. Photo credit: Rochester Americans.

Amerks forward Mason Josbt would join the goal scoring getting the Amerks only powerplay goal of the night off a flukey play where forward Isak Rosen would fling a puck at the net, hitting Josbt's skate and sneaking in for the fourth Amerk goal of the evening. Rochester's powerplay continues to be a concern going just 1-5 on the night, including an empty 5-on-3 opportunity in the second period.

Forwards Tyson Kozak and Viktor Neuchev would both score late in the third to cap off their multi-point night and put a cherry on top of a much-needed win for Rochester.

The biggest concern from Wednesday night's victory is the health of key defenseman Jeremy Davies who left the game in the third period with a right knee injury, his status is unknown at this time.

#31 goaltender Eric Comrie celebrating the win with #28 forward Michael Mersch. Photo credit: Rochester Americans.

Rochester improves to 17-13-3-1 (38 pts) on the season while Lehigh Valley will fall to 16-14-5-1 (38 pts). The Amerks will now turn their attention to Friday night as they travel to Utica to take on the North Division rival Comets before a four game homestand to end January.

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