Amerks ride four-goal second to rout Monsters

Courtesy of Amerks.com

CLEVELAND, OH — Another night of multi-point efforts from four different skaters coupled with a dominant four-goal second-period propelled the Rochester Americans (2-1-0-0) to a convincing 7-3 victory over the Cleveland Monsters (0-1-0-0) Friday at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Rochester was led offensively by C.J. Smith (2+1), Jean-Sebastien Dea (2+0), Mattias Samuelsson (1+1) and Ryan Jones (0+2), all of whom recorded multi-point efforts, the most through Rochester’s first three games of the young season for the Amerks. Remi Elie (0+1) and Oskari Laaksonen (0+1) both tacked on an assist to push their point streaks to two games apiece, while Arttu Ruotsalainen (0+1) added a helper to extend his to three. Goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (2-0-0) made 43 saves in his second straight start, establishing a new career-high.

Former Buffalo Sabre Nathan Gerbe (1+0) started the scoring for the Monsters with his first goal of the year. Former Amerks forward Zac Dalpe (1+0) and Dillon Simpson (1+0) followed suit with their first markers of the year, while Trey Fix-Wolansky (0+1), Thomas Schemitsch (0+1) and Cliff Pu (0+1) all added helpers on the Monsters three goals of the contest. Veteran goaltender Brad Thiessen (0-1-0) got the start in net for Cleveland and made saves on 27 of the 33 shots he faced.

Facing a two-goal deficit to begin the second period, the Amerks loaded four goals onto the scoresheet with three coming in a span of 7:23.

Smith, who was reassigned to Rochester from the Sabres taxi squad earlier in the day, got the Amerks on the board first with his first goal of the year just 41 seconds into the second stanza. The Amerks forward picked up a loose rebound and flipped it in behind Thiessen.

After a face-off win inside the Cleveland zone, Welsh notched his first professional tally from the left face-off dot. Asplund won the draw back to Jones, who connected with his fellow rookie defenseman and Welsh beat Thiessen on the far side for his first pro goal.

A little over two minutes later, the Amerks would take their first lead of the night with Samuelsson’s second point of the contest. Picking up a loose puck at the top of the left circle, Samuelsson skated to the center of the Amerks offensive zone and snapped home the first of his pro career.

Cleveland would come back to tie the game at three apiece, but Smith was ready to up the score once more in the second with a power-play marker. Smith would be the recipient of a long stretch pass from Ruotsalainen and he’d capitalize for his second goal of the night.

Much like the last goal to end the period prior, the Amerks embarked on a power-play just two minutes into the final frame. A swift breakout initiated by Laaksonen allowed Smith to find Dea streaking up the center of the ice. Dea, who earned the primary assist in Wednesday’s overtime win over Syracuse, maneuvered his way into the Cleveland zone before roofing his first goal of the season to push the Amerks lead to 5-3.

Oglevie scored unassisted at 15:14 and Dea added his second of the game three minutes later to seal the 7-3 win for Rochester.

Cleveland opened up the scoring early in the contest, needing just 62 seconds after the opening face-off as Gerbe converted on a breakaway to stake the Monsters to an early 1-0 advantage. It was Gerbe’s first AHL goal since Dec. 21, 2019.

After the teams traded power-plays on both sides of the ice, the Monsters capitalized on their second man- advantage of the period.

From the right side of Rochester’s defensive zone, Fix-Wolansky would corral the puck off the boards and send a high-slot pass to Dalpe. The former Amerk and Cleveland captain rifled one past Luukkonen, tying a Monsters franchise record with his 23rd power-play marker in his time with Cleveland.

The Amerks look to make it three straight when they return home on Thursday, Feb. 18 to take on the Utica Comets for the second of 14 meetings this season between the two teams. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on The Sports Leaders 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV. The matchup will also be tape-delayed and available for viewing beginning at 10 p.m. the CW Rochester.

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