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Amerks ready to return from All-Star Break

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey /

The Rochester Americans picked up points in two of three contests last weekend, improving their record to 19-24-0-2 (40 points). After 45 games, they currently sit in seventh place in the North Division and in 13th in the Eastern Conference. 

Here's how the week shook out for the Amerks, but first, check out this week's episode of Two In The Box:

 Two In The Box

Marlies 2 - Amerks 1 (SO)

TOR 2 - RCH 1 (SO)

The Rochester Americans fell in a seven-round shootout against the Toronto Marlies by the score of 2-1 Wednesday at The Blue Cross Arena despite a stellar 39-save effort from AHL All-Star goaltender Linus Ullmark.

For the second consecutive game, rookie forward Hudson Fasching lit the lamp for the Amerks while Ullmark suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in 15 games. The Swedish netminder boasts an 8-4-0-1 record in his last 13 starts and falls to 16-14-2 on the campaign.

The Marlies got on the board thanks to fourth-year forward Seth Griffith as he bagged his first of the season during the opening period. Garret Sparks made 19 saves through 65 minutes to improve his record to 5-2-0.

The Amerks began the second period trailing 1-0, but thanks in part to some timely saves by Ullmark, the deficit could have been a lot worse than the score indicted as Rochester was outshot 15-5.

"Tonight was not good," said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert. "Linus is the only reason we got a point in the game. After the first period, we were in a situation where we were down a goal but had an opportunity to still win a hockey game after 40 minutes."


Devils 2 - Amerks 1

ALB 2 - RCH 1

The Rochester Americans erased a 1-0 deficit, but their comeback fell short as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the first-place Albany Devils in the front-end of a home-and-home series at The Blue Cross Arena Friday night.

The Amerks lone tally was from forward Tim Kennedy during the middle period while AHL All-Star goaltender Linus Ullmark made 34 saves of the 36 shots he faced. The Swedish netminder's record on the campaign now stands at 16-15-2 heading into Saturday's rematch in Albany.

The Devils were paced by Joe Blandisi's fourth multi-point effort (0+2) while a pair of defensemen in Yohann Auvitu and Vojtech Mozik provided the offense in the 2-1 victory for the visitors. Netminder Mackenzie Blackwood picked up his eighth win of the season as he stopped 18 of 19 on the night.

The Amerks were outshot during the first 10 minutes of play by a 9-2 margin and trailed 1-0 but soon tied the contest at one apiece thanks to Kennedy. As the veteran forward applied pressure on the Devils defenseman inside the Albany blueline, he stripped the puck before slipping the puck between the pads of Blackwood to knot the game with 12:37 left in the opening period.

"Albany came out of the gates pretty hot," said Ullmark. "They fired a lot of shots and that kept us on our toes, but we played better over the second half of the game."


Amerks 5 - Devils 3

RCH 5 - ALB 3

Trailing 3-0 after the first period, the Rochester Americans fired back with five straight unanswered goals, including three in the second period, to come away with a thrilling 5-3 come-from-behind win over the Albany Devils Saturday at Times Union Center. 

The Amerks earned a split of the weekend home-and-home series with the Devils, who dating back to last season, have won seven straight meetings against the Amerks.

Tim Kennedy scored for the second straight game and added an assist for a two-point night while rookie forward Alexander Nylander snapped an 11-game scoring drought with a pair of assists in leading Rochester to its first win over Albany since Dec. 19 of last season. 

Daniel Muzito-Bagenda and Vaclav Karabacek scored less than a minute apart from one another to jumpstart the comeback effort in the second period, with Karabacek's goal marking his first as an Amerk. 

Cole Schneider, who then represented the Amerks over the next two days at the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, also found the back of the before Justin Bailey rounded out the scoring with his team-leading 18th goal of the season and 10th marker in the last 12 games. 

After allowing the game's first three goals to the Devils, Linus Ullmark, the other half of Rochester's AHL All-Star selections, stopped all of the next 23 shots he faced to salvage the win and improve to 17-15-2 on the season.

Yohann Auvitu recorded a goal and an assist in the loss for the Devils with Blake Coleman and Nick Lappin also scoring first-period goals for Albany. Rookie netminder Ken Appleby turned aside 19 shots in the defeat.


All-Star Recap

The 2017 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross concluded on Monday with the American Hockey League's Central Division All-Stars defeating the Atlantic Division All-Stars 1-0 in a shootout to cap off the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge.

The North Division All-Stars went an even 1-1-1 in their three-game round-robin tournament and its roster included Rochester Americans forwards Justin Bailey and Cole Schneider and goaltender Linus Ullmark.

"It was pretty special to open the scoring," said Schneider afterwards. "It is a memory that I will have for a long time. As a team, we wanted to make it to the Finals, but it was still a lot of fun as there was a lot of open ice."

Bailey impacted the scoresheet as well over the course of the night, scoring a pair of goals and also picking up two assists to go along with a plus-4 rating.

Ullmark closed out the night with 15 saves on 17 shots against for a 1.43 goals-against average.


Scoring leaders

1. Cole Schneider 16G - 23A - 39 PTS
2. Cal O'Reilly 8G - 26A - 34 PTS
3. Justin Bailey 18G - 10A - 28 PTS
4. Nicholas Baptiste 17G - 9A - 26 PTS
5. Evan Rodrigues 7G - 17A - 24 PTS


Goaltending leaders

1. Linus Ullmark 17-15-2-0; 2.84 GAA; .913 SV%
2. John Muse 2-6-0-0; 3.21 GAA; .904 SV%


Coming up

The Amerks resume their 2016-17 regular season on Friday when they continue their three-game road swing with a matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. 

The 7 p.m. matchup will be the second of four meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.

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