Courtesy of Amerks.com
Laval, Quebec – The Rochester Americans (20-16-3-1) and Laval Rocket (19-17-4-2) traded goals inside the first two minutes of the contest, but a four-goal run by the Rocket would propel the home team to a 6-2 win in the first of back-to-back meeting Friday at Place Bell.
Despite the defeat, Rochester has picked up at least one point in 15 of its first 21 road games in Laval, going 13-6-2-0 over that span. The Amerks, who have won four of their last seven games overall, will look to finish the season-series with Laval on Saturday with a 6-2-0-0 record.
Lukas Rousek notched his eighth goal of the season during the first period while Jeremy Davies, who appeared in his 100th game as an Amerk after missing the previous five due to injury, closed out the scoring by adding his sixth in the final stanza. Defensemen Kale Clague and Joseph Cecconi both earned an assist as did forward Tyson Jost.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski (7-7-2) made his 16th appearance of the campaign, stopping 27 shots of the 32 he faced.
Brandon Gignac (0+3) and Justin Barron (1+2) both tallied three points for Laval, which snapped its three-game winless streak. Lias Andersson (2+0), Philippe Maillet (1+1), Xavier Simoneau (0+2) and William Trudeau (0+2) all notched multi-point efforts. Joshua Roy and Mitchell Stephens scored one goal each while netminder rookie Jakub Dobeš improved to 13-8-4 in his 27th appearance. Dobeš, who made 24 saves, is tied for second amongst all first-year goaltenders in wins while leading rookie netminders in games played.
Less than a minute into the contest, Rochester won a face-off to the left of Tokarski, but Barron intercepted a potential breakout pass from just inside the left point. The defenseman quickly snapped a pass across the zone to Gignac, who then one-touched it for Andersson to tap behind the Amerks netminder as he was at the far post.
The Amerks responded nearly two minutes later when Clague picked off a Laval feed from outside the blueline before sending Rousek into the offensive zone on a long stretch pass. Rousek, who split the Rocket defense corps as he carried the puck, sprinted towards Dobeš, and as he reached the right circle, he flipped a backhanded shot over the glove to tie the matchup at the 2:18 mark.
Laval continued its high-octane offense as they countered back with a pair of tallies to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission break on Barron and Stephens’ first and fifth of the campaign, respectively.
Barron’s tally came at the 4:01 mark from Gignac and Trudeau whereas Stephens scored on a rebound from Mattias Norlinder and Simoneau with eight minutes left in the frame.
During the second period where the two clubs combined for 16 penalty minutes, Laval pushed its cushion to 4-1 late in the frame.
Barron dumped the puck down the wall from the left point. Maillet retrieved the feed in the far corner before dishing it to Roy to blast from the circle at the 17:58 mark.
The Rocket made it a 5-1 score on the opening shift of the third period as Maillet snuck behind the Amerks defense and sniped a shot overtop the glovehand of Tokarski.
The marker came 19 seconds after Amerks captain Michael Mersch dropped the gloves trying to spark his teammates.
While Davies cut into the deficit as he banged in Cecconi’s rebound, Andersson capped the scoring with his 13th of the season in the final moments of regulation.
Following a quick turnaround, the Amerks will look to split the weekend set with a rematch against the Rocket on Saturday, Feb. 3 at Place Bell. The 3:00 p.m. matinee will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.