Three in the third not enough for Amerks in 5-3 loss
(Allentown, PA) … The Rochester Americans (25-13-6-5) scored three goals during the final period of Saturday night’s contest with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (30-14-3-3) but ended up on the wrong side of a 5-3 score at the PPL Center.
Despite the loss, the Amerks have collected at least one point in 32 of their last 41 games dating back to Nov. 1, including 10 of their last 15 games since the turn of the New Year. The regulation loss was Rochester’s fourth of the season while away from The Blue Cross Arena as the Amerks carry a record of 14-4-6-3 in 27 road contests this season. The Amerks are just one of three teams in the American Hockey League with four regulation losses on the road this season.
Veteran defenseman Matt Tennyson recorded his first multi-point (1+1) with the Amerks and of the season, while Sahir Gill notched his fifth multi-point effort of the slate as he scored his 14th goal of year to go along with an assist. Veteran defenseman Zach Redmond lit the lamp for his career-best ninth goal of the campaign to round out the scoring for the Amerks, who have gone winless in four straight games for the first time all season. Goaltender Linus Ullmark returned to the crease after missing the last two contests but took the loss as he stopped 27 of 32.
Second-year forward Travis Sanheim bagged a career-high three-assist night to lead Lehigh Valley to its third straight win and seventh of the last 12 while rookie Mikhail Vorobyev added a pair of points (1+1) in the victory. Greg Carey, Colin McDonald, Cole Bardreau and former Amerk T.J. Brennan completed the scoring while netminder Dustin Tokarski recorded his 12th win in the blue paint as he made 24 saves.
Just 1:17 after Redmond deposited his career-high ninth goal of the season, Bardreau was sprung in all alone on Ullmark thanks to a stretch pass from Sanheim. The fourth-year winger and Rochester native took a few strides from the blueline and fired a wrister past the stick of the Amerks goaltender to make it a 5-3 game and eventually seal the victory for Lehigh Valley.
Despite few stoppages in the opening period, Lehigh Valley got on the board first as Brennan scored his 11th goal of the season with 1:58 left in the stanza. Brennan, a two-time Eddie Shore winner as the AHL’s best defenseman and five-time AHL All-Star, has recorded 10 points (3+7) in the last six meetings against his former club since the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
The home club did not make it any easier on Rochester as they added a pair of power-play goals during the second period and took a 3-0 lead into the intermission break.
Rochester, however, spoiled any thought Tokarski had of a potential shutout as Tennyson scored his second of the slate and third point (2+1) in the last five games with 13:44 left in the contest.
Kyle Criscuolo and Seth Griffith teamed up for the marker.
Much like Bardreau’s quick response after Redmond’s goal, Vorobyev answered 2:20 later to regain the Phantom’s three-goal cushion at the 8:36 mark.
The Amerks trimmed it to a 4-2 score as Gill snuck a back-door feed from Nick Baptiste inside the left post with 6:02 to play in the contest. The power-play tally was Gill’s 14th goal of the season and Rochester’s sixth goal with the man-advantage in the last five road games as they hold a 27.2% conversion rate during that span.
Redmond scored less than three minutes later to bring the Amerks within one, but Lehigh Valley added an insurance-marker before holding off Rochester for the final two minutes as they would hang on for the 5-3 win.
The oldest rivalry in the AHL will be renewed on Sunday, Feb. 11 as the Amerks travel to Giant Center to take on the Hershey Bears in what will be the 456th all-time meeting between the league’s two senior-most franchises. The 5:00 p.m. matchup will be the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams and can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Tennyson (2), Gill (14), Redmond (9)
LV: Brennan (11), Carey (21), McDonald (4), Vorobyev (5), Bardreau (4)
RCH: Ullmark– 27/32 (L)
LV: Tokarski– 24/27 (W)
RCH: PP (1/4) | PK (2/4)
LV: PP (2/4) | PK (3/4)