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Amerks get to the blue paint

By: Brayden Peters


Rochester celebrate's Linus Weissbach's goal. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Rochester Americans put the puck in the back of the net six times in their 6-1 win over the Cleveland Monsters. Three players recorded three points for the Amerks as Zach Metsa, Nikita Novikov and Linus Weissbach all had a goal and two assists.


Metsa was happy with the Amerks' offensive production. Half of the Amerks' goals came on shots from the blue line.


"Our forwards tonight were unbelievable in screening Subban," Metsa said. "He couldn't see anything all tonight...There were so many times up at the point that you look up and see bodies in front of the net."


Just over two minutes into the game, the Amerks opened the scoring. Novikov scored in the crease in a scrum that ended with his back and the puck in the net. This was Novikov's third goal of his AHL career.


Novikov moves up the ice to retrieve the puck. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

Almost four minutes after Novikov's goal, the Amerks struck once again. Graham Slaggert deflected a Metsa wrist shot past Subban to give Rochester a 2-0 lead. It was Slaggert's fourth goal of the season. Metsa and Novikov were credited with assists.


By the nine-minute mark of the period the Monsters started to control the puck in the offensive zone longer than usual. They created high-quality scoring chances more often, making things difficult for Rochester's goalie Devon Levi.


Slaggert high fives his teammates that are on the bench after scoring. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

Despite that, Rochester continued to roll on. Victor Neuchev scored a screened shot in the high slot on the power play to give the Americans a 3-0 lead. It was his eleventh goal of the season. Ethan Prow picked up an assist. Not only that, but Anton Wahlberg got an assist on the goal too. This gave him his first-ever point in his young AHL career.


"It was great," Wahlberg said. "I didn't even realize I got a point."


Eventually, the Monsters were able to erase the goose egg on the scoreboard that was under the team's name as Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Luca Del Bel Belluz buried a wrist shot through the five-hole.


Neuchev buries his wrist shot past Subban. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

It wasn't very long before Rochester responded with a goal of their own. Twenty-six seconds after Cleveland's goal, Mason Jobst buried a one-timer past Subban. Both Metsa and Novikov were credited with assists, which gave Novikov three points for the night. Amerks head coach Seth Appert has been impressed with Novikov this season.


"Novy (Novikov) has done a great job," Appert said. "You're talking about a 20-year-old defenseman who you can play 15 to 20 minutes a night...he's over 20 points and he's +15. You are going to take that from a rookie defenseman while he's learning the language..."


To end the period, Rochester had a 4-1 lead over Cleveland. Rochester outshot the Monsters 10-5 when it came to shots on goal.


The Monsters came out with more energy in the second period. They fired numerous shots at Levi, who managed to hold his own between the pipes. They also began to play solid on the forecheck and laid out plenty of body checks. With the physicality that the Monsters were bringing, things began to get chippy between both teams.


Jobst finishes celebrating his goal with his line mates. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

Rochester continued to produce on offense, though. Weissbach ripped a wrist shot top left of the net from the point. It was his 15th goal of the season and Joseph Cecconi along with Jeremy Davies picked up assists.


Although Rochester continued to apply good pressure on the Monsters' defense, they couldn't create many more scoring chances. They entered the third period up 5-1 despite being outshot 19-16 in shots on goal.


Levi rests before an upcoming face-off. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

The third period saw more of the same from Cleveland when it came to physicality. However, they began taking dangerous shots at some Amerks players, which upset Appert.


"The game got escalated for no reason," Appert said. "I thought there should've been calls along the way."


About five minutes into the period, Metsa buried a wrist shot from the slot giving him his third point of the night and sixth goal of the season. Weissbach picked up his third point of the game as well with an assist and Ryan Johnson was given an assist too. Up to that point, Rochester scored six goals on just 19 shots on goal.


With 9:06 left in the period, the water boiled over for both teams. After Cleveland's Billy Sweezy laid out a big check on Jiri Kulich, Cecconi dropped the gloves and went at it with Sweezy.


Cecconi and Sneezy battle it out in a fight. (Photo Credit: Chamberlain Bauder/89.1 The Point)

The Monsters still struggled to get anything going offensively, as Levi was a brick wall in net. He recorded 25 saves in the win for Rochester. He believes that he has made a lot of progress in the pros this season, even with bouncing back and forth between the Sabres and Amerks.


"I've seen a whole lot of different situations this year," Levi said. "A lot of challenges that have made me better as a goalie, as a person...more mentally strong. I'm super grateful for every experience I've had this year."


Less than a minute before the game ended, Metsa took a huge check from Jake Gaudet, prompting Brett Murray to drop the gloves and fight him.


The Amerks finished the game with 25 shots on goal compared to Cleveland's 27 shots on goal. With the 6-1 win for Rochester, they are now tied with the Monsters for second place in the North Division. The win increases the Amerks winning streak to four games. They will look to extend their run when they hit the road to take on the Providence Bruins. The puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.









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Awesome article!

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