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Amerks roll through Springfield

Updated: Jan 29

By: Liam Hoffmann

ROCHESTER, NY-- The Rochester Amerks closed out their three-game week with a 7-3 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday. The three-game week ends with three wins for the Amerks. They are now 6-1-1 in the last eight games.

"This is the best week, when you take a one-week snapshot, of playing consistently the right way," Amerks head coach Seth Appert said. "It's been 16, 17 games now of pretty damn good."

Riley Stillman, Brendan Warren, and Linus Weissbach pregame. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 The Point

In goal for the Amerks, Devon Levi made his third start of this season. Levi returned to Rochester on Friday while Eric Comrie rejoined the Sabres in Buffalo. Levi recorded 14 saves on 17 shots en route to his third win as an Amerk this season.

Across the ice, Vadim Zherenko got the nod for the Thunderbirds. However, after just two surrendered goals on 16 shots in the first period, Springfield interim head coach Daniel Tkaczuk turned to former Amerk Malcolm Subban. Subban surrendered five goals with 20 saves across the final 40 minutes of the game.

"There are different challenges to a low-shot game as a goalie," Levi said. "Harder to stay in it and stay warm, but the guys were blocking everything it seemed like and shutting it down."

Devon Levi by the goal. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 The Point

The last time these two sides met, Springfield handed the Amerks their only shootout loss of the season. Subban turned away all three Amerks skaters in the shootout, sending his former team home with just one point.

Tonight, Linus Weissbach stayed hot, scoring two goals to lead the way for the Amerks. Other multi-point scorers for the Amerks were Graham Slaggert (1+1) and Jacob Bryson (0+2). Slaggert's goal was his first since December 1st of last year. Lukas Rousek added to his point streak, picking up an assist and reaching a league-best 13-game streak.

"I think this second stretch here, I've done a much better job of being consistent with my day-to-day process, coming to the rink every day to make sure that when I do get these opportunities, I'm ready to play," Slaggert said.

Early on, the Amerks defense constantly forced turnovers, keeping Thunderbird possessions short and enabling offense on the other side of the ice. Ethan Prow and Riley Stillman's intensity as defensemen helped create the hardship experienced by Springfield's offense. Weissbach's first goal at the 3:24 mark of the first happened off of a turnover near the Thunderbird's goal. Soon after, Slaggert redirected a shot from Brendan Warren into the net, extending the Amerks' lead to 2-0.

Rounding out the first-period goal scorers were Thunderbirds' Calle Rosen and Tanner Dickinson. Dickinson's score was his first career AHL goal, occurring in his first game as a Thunderbird.

Jacob Bryson pregame. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 The Point

When the teams retook the ice for period two, Subban was between the poles for Springfield. This change was met by a triad of Amerks goals. Kale Clague extended his point streak to four games with a goal five and a half minutes into the period and Brett Murray recorded the insurance goal three minutes later after he had several quality chances near the net.

Following that, Brendan Warren was called for a tripping penalty that left the Amerks shorthanded. Isak Rosen grew the lead nonetheless by way of his 10th goal of the season. Mikhail Abramov answered with a goal for the Thunderbirds to draw things closer and make the score 5-3 to end the period.

Brett Murray. Photo Credit: Liam Hoffmann, 89.1 The Point

The Amerks were firmly in control of the possession battle through two periods, shown by the Amerks 28 shots on goal compared to 14 by Springfield when the third period kicked off.

It was more of the same in the last 20 minutes. The Amerks' defense continued to generate turnovers, including a Brendan Warren takeaway that killed one of the longer possessions Springfield had had all night. Viktor Neuchev scored his fifth goal of the year and Weissbach his second of the game in the middle portion of the third. With that, the Amerks reached a goal total of 7, a feat they've achieved just three times this year.

"We play our best when we play fast; how you play fast is you force teams into turnovers," Appert said.

The Amerks will be back at Blue Cross Arena next weekend. Friday night, the Utica Comets are visiting with puck drop set for 7:05 p.m.

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