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Amerks Dance Over Devils In 6-1 Win

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Kenndal McArdle

The Rochester Americans ignited their offense with six tallies on the night and went 3-for-6 on the power-play, to defeat the Albany Devils 6-1 tonight at Times Union Center. With the win, the Amerks improve to 21-23-3-2, picking up points in four of their last five games, while Albany drops to 18-25-0-3 on the season. The Amerks also improve their winning-streak to three, for the first time since late October and end the season series with the Devils at 2-2.

Mike Kostka (1+1), Chris Taylor (1+1), who were the second and third star of the game, respectively and Jordan Knackstedt (1+1) led the red, white and blue tonight, each notching a goal and an assist. Michael Duco (1+0) also added his team-leading 14th goal of the season, while Chris Taylor’s (1+0) goal helps him climb among the ranks in Amerks’ history, placing him 10th on the franchise’s all-time goals list. Kostka’s assist also gives him a team-high of 15 on the power-play.

In tonight’s win, goaltender Jacob Markstrom, the first star of the game, now posts a .966 save percentage in his past four appearances, and has gone 3-0 since being recalled to Rochester, saving 91 of  95 shots in those games. Markstrom also caps off the week with a 1.33 goals against average.

Despite having seven power-play opportunities, the Devils were unable to score until 19:19 of the last period of play, against the league’s worst penalty kill. The lone goal came from Vladimir Zharkov (1+0) with an assist by defenseman Rob Davison (0+1). Netminder Dave Caruso also blocked 23 of 29 shots in the losing effort.

Kenndal McArdle scored the first goal of the game in the Amerks’ favor midway into the opening frame on the power-play. After Kostka took the initial shot from the top of the slot, McArdle was already in position to chip the puck past Albany’s Caruso for his 11th tally of the season. Joe Callahan also assisted on the play.

Rochester extended its lead by two with less than a minute to go in the first period. Taylor netted his sixth of the season by flipping a shot into the upper corner of Caruso’s net. The tally places him 10th on the franchise’s all-time goals list and gives him a total of 27 points thus far this year. Knackstedt and Clay Wilson earned the helpers.

Kostka earned another point this evening with the second power-play goal of the game 7:29 into the middle stanza. The goal was nearly identical to McArdle’s in the first period, with Taylor’s blast tipped in net by Kostka for his eighth of the season. Taylor gained his second point of the contest with the assist, and Ben Gordon also helped on the play.

The score increased by four with Rochester’s AJ Jenks’ sixth goal of the year. Scott Timmins carried the puck up the ice and dished it across the line to Jenks. Jenks then wristed a shot that Caruso was able to get a piece of with his glove, but the puck deflected down and in with less than five minutes remaining in the second.

Duco would add another power-play goal at 16:29 of the third period, for a fifth unanswered goal. After Rochester-native, Albany Devil Stephen Gionta was put in the box for a high-sticking call, defenseman Colby Robak took the opportunity on the man-advantage, shooting a one-timer in front of the net. The puck then bounced off Caruso’s pads allowing Duco to pick up the rebound and capitalize on the play. Bill Thomas also was credited with an assist.

Eighteen seconds later, Rochester made the score 6-0 when Knackstedt added his second point on the night. Upon a pass from winger PJ Fenton, Knackstedt brought the puck through the face-off circles and flipped it between the pipes, adding the sixth goal of the night, Rochester’s season high in goals, for the fifth time this season.

Albany wouldn’t allow Markstrom to pick up his second career shutout though, adding the upsetter with only 41 seconds left in the contest. Zharkov picked up his eighth goal of the season on Albany’s first goal of the night, while Davison added the assist.

The Amerks return home to the Flower City on Saturday, February 6th for a 7:35 p.m. matchup with the Toronto Marlies. Fans will be able to tune in live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The game will also be broadcast on Time Warner SportsNet Channel 26.
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