Rochester Americans shutout at home by Thunderbirds 4-0
By: John Frayler
The Rochester Americans are back in action this week in their first game since the all-star break. The Americans are seeking to turn around their recent struggles by winning back to back games a feat they haven’t accomplished since January 7th and 11th.They took on The Springfield Thunderbirds, who are currently red hot having won their past 8 games. The Americans have a streak of their own having beaten The Thunderbirds at home in the past 5 occasions, making it their longest streak against any opponent at The Blue Cross Arena.
The first period highlights were all on the defensive side of stat sheet with a number of high quality saves by Rochester goaltender Malcom Subban. The amerks penalty kill was put to the test 7:16 into the first period against the 7th best power play in the league in The Thunderbirds. A tripping penalty taken by Lawrence Pilut gave the Thunderbirds a man advantage. A couple of excellent pad saves by Subban prevented the Thunderbirds from breaking the ice. The Thunderbirds had control of the puck for most of the period and were outshot 11-5.
The Americans got off to an inauspicious start to the second period being hemmed in their own zone and icing the puck a number of times in the first few minutes. They were able to swing the momentum back to their favor but only momentarily as Matthew Peca put The Thunderbirds on the scoreboard 10:30 into the second. The Thunderbirds took control of the momentum and the Amerks committed an ill-advised bench minor for too many men on the ice sending them to the penalty kill.
Good defensive sticks by the Amerks were able to improve their penalty kill to 2 for 2 on the night. Shortly after the penalty was successfully killed off, Thunderbirds defenseman Brady Lyle doubled their lead on a wrap-around goal.
The Americans went into the third period trailing 2-0 and immediately put pressure on the Thunderbirds defense. The propitious start to the period was shown by long offensive zone shifts and great scoring chances. Thunderbird goalie Joel Hofer was up to the challenge and stopped every puck that came to him for his 2nd shutout of the season. The Thunderbirds picked up 2 additional goals late in third via the vacant net to cement their victory 4-0.
That loss drops the Americans to 2-7-1 in their last 10 and marks their 7th loss since January 18th. They previously had 8 losses in all of November and December. They will look to rebound Saturday Febraury 11th as they take on the Syracuse Crunch at 7.