Slumping Amerks fall apart in 3rd against Cleveland

Sports

The Rochester Americans (8-7-2-1) opened a two-goal lead in the first period against the Cleveland Monsters (10-5-1-0), but were unable to hold onto the lead as the visitors scored four times in the final frame to come away with a 5-3 victory.

The contest, which was Rochester’s sixth straight home defeat, was the fourth of six scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and second of a three-game series. The Amerks, who boast a 30-10-4-4 record against the Monsters since the start of the 2011-12 season, opened the season series by way of a 7-3 victory while Cleveland has taken the last three meetings with the road team emerging victorious each time.

Rookie forward Jack Quinn tallied his first career two-assist game and second multi-point outing of his career while fellow linemate Michael Mersch also recorded a two-point effort with a goal an assist. Quinn has four points (1+4) over his last five games while Mersch extended his point streak to three games (2+2). Captain Steven Fogarty slipped in his team-leading seventh goal of the season in the third period while Ryan Jones scored his second of the slate. Brent Murray and Brent Gates Jr., who signed a professional tryout with Rochester yesterday, both recorded an assist.

First-year goaltender Stefanos Lekkas (0-1-1) made his second appearance with Rochester this season. The rookie netminder stopped 28 of the 32 shots he faced but suffered the loss.


Cleveland extended its win streak to five games, outscoring its opponents 28-9 over that span, while improving to 8-2-0-0 in the last 10 games. Despite returning to the lineup for the first time since Mar. 20, defenseman Dillion Simpson paced the club with a pair of goals to extend his goal-scoring and point streak to three games and four games (4+1), respectively. Ole Bjorgvik-Holm and Tristan Mullin both scored their first American Hockey League goals while Tyler Sikura netted his team-leading eighth tally to complete the scoring.

Netminder Danill Tarasov made his second career professional start and made 20 saves to improve to 2-0-0.

With a 2-1 lead and 1:09 of leftover power-play to begin the third period, Rochester had the hopes of taking its second two-goal cushion of the night. However, just 42 seconds into the frame, Cleveland tied the game as Sikura finished off an odd-man rush with Carson Meyer.

The Monsters successfully killed off the rest of the infraction and then rode the wave of the momentum before scoring a pair of goals to take a 4-2 lead at the 11:21 mark. Much like Bjorgvik-Holm’s his first career AHL tally that trickled across the goal-line, Mullin redirected a shot that snuck past the line for his first marker.

Later in the frame while the Amerks were on the power-play, and after Lekkas denied a two-on-none shorthanded break-away, Fogarty brought the Amerks within one with 5:14 left regulation. Keeping the puck inside the zone in the right corner, Quinn one-touched a pass to Murray between the faceoff dots before Murray tapped the puck to Fogarty. With Tarasov sliding to his right, Fogarty nearly fanned on the shot but got enough on it to tuck his seventh goal just inside the far post.

Trailing by a goal, Rochester drew its sixth penalty of the contest as there was just under four minutes to go in regulation. The home club was unable to capitalize on the ensuing man-advantage and then pulled Lekkas for an extra-attacker, but Cleveland sealed the win as Simpson scored into the vacant net.

Things started off well for the Amerks as they opened the scoring first for the fourth consecutive contest, needing only 89 seconds after the opening face-off to take a 1-0 lead.

As Quinn gathered the puck off the glove of Tarasov, he shoved it back to the goal crease before Mersch steered it into the cage for his fifth of the season and second in three games.

Later in the period, Rochester kept the Monsters hemmed inside their own zone and doubled its lead as Jones fired a shot from the right point that made its way through traffic and in with 4:09 on the clock before the intermission.

Cleveland cut the lead in half late in the first period before scoring four goals in the final 20 minutes of play to earn the 5-3 victory.

The Amerks and Monsters face-off the third time in a week as the series shifts to Cleveland for another go-around at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The afternoon matinee is slated for a 4:00 p.m. start.

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