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Amerks pick up back-to-back wins over Laval as busy November begins

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey /

The Rochester Americans (4-4-0-0) claimed four out of a possible six points this past week with both wins coming over the Laval Rocket as part of a home-and-home series. Both games saw the Amerks allow the game's first goal to the Rocket before scoring four-straight unanswered goals to come away with the victory. 

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On Wednesday, the Amerks scored four straight to overcome a 2-1 deficit in their first-ever meeting with Laval and Friday's rematch featured an incredible third-period comeback with a pair of goals in the final 1:35 of regulation from Nick Baptiste before Kyle Criscuolo netted the game-winner 2:29 into overtime.

C.J. Smith enters the week tied for the team lead in scoring and ranks 11th among all AHL rookies with six points (2+4) through his first eight games of the season. He closed out the month of October with assists in back-to-back games and shows three points (1+2) in his last four contests. 

Sahir Gill comes into the week tied for the longest active goal-scoring streak in the AHL with goals in three-straight games. He began the week with a shorthanded tally in Rochester's 5-2 win at Laval on Wednesday followed by an even strength goal in Friday's rematch against the Rocket. 

Gill then closed out the weekend with a power-play marker in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Syracuse. Gill has totaled five points (3+2) over his last five games to lead the Amerks in scoring over that span.

Wednesday: RCH 5 - LAV 2

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After falling behind 2-1 near the midway point of the opening period, the Rochester Americans (3-3-0-0) responded with four straight unanswered goals on their way to a 5-2 victory over the Laval Rocket (4-3-1-0) in the inaugural meeting between the two teams Wednesday night at Place Bell. The win also snaps a three-game skid for the Amerks, who improve to 2-0-0-0 on the road this season.

Nicholas Baptiste recorded his first multi-point (1+2) outing of the season as did Colin Blackwell (2+1), Sahir Gill (1+1) and Garret Ross (0+2) to help the Amerks in the come-from-behind victory. Casey Nelson capped off the scoring for Rochester as he netted his first of the season, while goaltender Linus Ullmark evened his record on the campaign to 2-2-0 after making 37 saves on the night, which included 28 over the final 40 minutes of play.

Former Amerk Nick Deslauriers began the scoring for the Rocket while Chris Terry scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Second-year netminder Zachary Fucale suffered his first loss of the season despite stopping 22 of 27.

After seeing the Rocket take a 2-1 lead with their league-leading 11th power-play goal of the season with 11:36 left in the opening frame, the Amerks took another infraction four minutes later.

However, it was Rochester that gained momentum as Gill was sprung into the offensive zone from Kyle Criscuolo. As Gill snuck behind the Laval defenseman, the 25-year-old bagged his first goal of the season and the first shorthanded goal for Rochester since former Amerks blueliner Brady Austin on March 31 of last season.

With Blackwell's three-point (2+1) performance, it establishes a new career-high in both goals and points while the two-assist effort from Ross was his first multi-point game since Jan. 12, 2016 as a member of the Rockford IceHogs.

Friday: LAV 3 - RCH 4 (OT)

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Trailing 3-0 entering the final period, the Rochester Americans (4-3-0-0) responded with four straight unanswered goals, including two in the final 1:35 of regulation, to stun the Laval Rocket (4-3-2-0) with a 4-3 win in overtime Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.

"A win like this brings the group together," Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said. "It was a good win but we have to bring it tomorrow night. We have to be ready to play tomorrow and that is what good teams do, they bring it every night on a consistent basis.

Amerks forward Nicholas Baptiste notched his second straight multi-point (2+0) game to help Rochester to its second consecutive victory against Laval while rookie defenseman Brendan Guhle collected his first two-assist outing of his professional career in addition to extending his point-streak to three games. 

"Despite being down to enter the third, we talked as a group that we were only three shots away from tying the game," Baptiste said. "We knew if we got back to our game and played the right way, we could come back and win the game."

Kyle Criscuolo capped off the scoring for the Amerks with his second tally of the season while Sahir Gill jumpstarted a four-goal run with his second goal in as many games. Linus Ullmark stopped 33 of 36 for his second straight victory in the crease and third overall on the season.

The Rocket were led by defenseman Stefan Leblanc (1+1), and forwards Daniel Carr and Kyle Baun, as they each would notch a pair of helpers in Laval's first visit to Rochester. Bryon Froese and Peter Holland rounded out the scoring for the Rocket as goaltender Charlie Lindgren dropped his record to 2-2-2 despite making a season-high 44 saves. Coming into tonight, Lindgren had a 6-0-0 career record against the Amerks in six games, including a pair of shutouts.

Saturday: SYR 3 - RCH 2

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The Rochester Americans (4-4-0-0) led the Syracuse Crunch (3-5-1-0) 2-1 entering the final period but a late goal with just 1:03 remaining in regulation proved to be the difference as the Amerks came out on the losing of a 3-2 decision Saturday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The win is Syracuse's first in the head-to-head series after dropping the first two contests during opening weekend.

"We let off the gas pedal a little bit and let them climb back into the game," said rookie defenseman Brendan Guhle. "We got away from our game during the last period by not doing the things that got us the lead, so it is something we will continue to work on."

For the third straight contest, Sahir Gill tallied a goal to extend his point and goal streak to tie a career-long three games with four points (3+1) while also recording five points (3+2) over his last five games overall. 

In addition, Kyle Criscuolo scored his third goal of the season and second in the last two nights. Former Crunch netminder Adam Wilcox started in the Amerks crease but left the game after 49 minutes. Linus Ullmark took over the goaltending duties but took the lost to drop his record to 3-3-0.

Kevin Lynch and Michael Bournival led the Crunch with a goal and an assist each on the night while Anthony Cirelli began the comeback for Syracuse during the third period. Former Amerk netminder Michael Leighton made 25 saves to improve his record to 2-3-0 on the season.

"Our defensive corps played their best game of the year tonight," Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said. "They made a lot of nice plays, but we did not capitalize on opportunities to get the win tonight."

Television schedule announced

MSG Network will televise five regular-season home games during the 2017-18 American Hockey League season, beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 15 when the Amerks host the Binghamton Devils at 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena.

The televised home games will be simulcast with the Amerks radio broadcasts, as Hall of Fame play-by-play broadcaster Don Stevens, the Voice of the Amerks now celebrating his remarkable 32nd season with the club, will be joined by color analyst and former Sabre Ric Seiling in the broadcast booth. For the seventh straight season, 13 WHAM-TV's Sports Director Mike Catalana will join Stevens and Seiling on air as host of the telecasts.
All five games will also be available to authenticated subscribers of participating providers on "MSG GO," MSG Networks' live streaming and video on demand platform. Subscribers with a supported smartphone or tablet can download the free "MSG GO" app by visiting the App Store or the Google Play store. Viewers can also access the game by visiting www.  

The following games are scheduled to be televised on MSG Network during the 2017-18 season. The games will be available in the Rochester and Buffalo markets and certain other areas. Subscribers are encouraged to check their local listings for availability and for channel listings.

Wednesday, Nov. 15 vs. Binghamton Devils (7:00 p.m. - MSG)
Friday, Jan. 12 vs. Binghamton Devils (7:00 p.m. - MSG)
Monday, Jan. 15 vs. Utica Comets (1:00 p.m. - MSG)
Sunday, Mar. 11 vs. Syracuse Crunch (3:00 p.m. - MSG)
Wednesday, Mar. 28 vs. Utica Comets (7:00 p.m. - MSG)

Ticket info

Individual game tickets for the 2017-18 season start at just $14. Amerks Season Ticket Memberships, which start as low as just $12 per game, are on-sale now. The Amerks are also offering a variety of partial plans, including Half-Season Memberships and Flex Season Memberships with vouchers good for best available seating to any home game. All memberships are up to 40% off Box Office day of game pricing. For more information, visit or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.  

Upcoming schedule

The Amerks kick off a busy month of November this week with four of their next five games on the road. This week's schedule has Rochester visiting Utica twice in a span of four days with a home contest against the Hershey Bears in-between on Friday, marking the 455th all-time meeting between the AHL's two oldest franchises.

Scoring leaders

1. Kyle Criscuolo 3G - 3A - 6 PTS
C.J. Smith 2G - 4A - 6 PTS
3. Nicholas Baptiste 3G - 2A - 5 PTS
Shair Gill 3G - 2A - 5 PTS
5. Steve Moses 1G - 3A - 4 PTS

Goaltending leaders

1. Linus Ullmark 3-3-0; 2.77 GAA; .916 SV%
2. Adam Wilcox 1-1-0; 3.11 GAA; .871 SV% 

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