BUFFALO (LGS) — Losers of five of their previous six contests entering last weekend, the Rochester Americans desperately needed a win to get some positive momentum. Unfortunately, they did not get it.
Friday night, the Amerks dropped a 7-4 decision to rival Syracuse. Saturday night Rochester fell 6-4 to Albany. Despite an increased effort the following night, the Amerks had no answer for Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton’s Robbie Schremp, falling to the Penguins 4-1.
Schremp scored the games first goal at the 1:03 mark of the second period. Jon Filewich came from the far end boards and had a wrap-around attempt denied by Adam Dennis. Dennis left the rebound right in the crease and Schremp was there to put it in.
Schremp set up the second Penguin goal as well. Rochester’s Anthony Stewart was attempting to clear the zone and without looking fired the puck up ice. Schremp read the play, intercepted the pass and raced towards the net before passing to Ratchuck. Dennis made the save on Peter Ratchuck, but Robert Nilsson beat him for the tally, making it 2-0 Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton.
“I saw Stewie turn and knew he was going to (pass up ice),” said Schremp. “I was just trying to take up space, but he put it right on my tape.”
Schremp finished the night with one goal, one assists and roughly ten scoring chances created.
Rochester was able to cut the lead to 2-1 at 16:06 of the second. Janis Sprukts tipped in a shot by newcomer Mikko Lehtonen. Lehtonen let a shot go from the left wing point, and Sprukts was positioned perfectly in front of the net.
As in recent weeks, it was as close as Rochester would get. Matt Carkner and Kurtis McLean each added third period goals to provide the winning margin.
“I really thought that we had some opportunities to tie it in the third,” Randy Cunneyworth said. “There was no sustained effort though, too many unforced errors.”
The loss was Rochester’s eighth in nine games.
“There are no immediate answers,” Rochester captain Brandon Smith explained. “The atmosphere in the room is getting better, but we need more effort on the ice.
“We have to play all 60 minutes.”
Rochester had another chance to play all 60 minutes on Wednesday night when they traveled down to Wilkes-Barre for the back end of a home and home set with the Penguins.
It didn’t take long for Rochester to get their revenge as they scored four straight goals to begin the second period.
Kamil Kreps (4:42), Greg Jacina (12:32), Janis Sprukts (14:12), and Stefan Meyer (14:42) scored within 10 minutes of each other as the Amerks raced to a 4-0 lead at the Wachovia Arena.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton answered when Jon Filiwich scored with just over 3:00 remaining in the second.
The Penguins would had another marker in the third period before Rochester iced the contest with Marek Zagrapan’s 12th of the season with 10:04 remaining.
The Amerks stay on the road this week as they visit the Philadelphia Phantoms on Friday, March 16th at 7:05 p.m. Rochester then heads to Toronto for a 7:00 p.m. game on Saturday night before returning home for its fourth game in five days.
Weekly Amerks & AHL Wrist Shots
► It didn’t take long for Patrick Kaleta to announce his return to the American Hockey League. Kaleta absolutely blew up Jon Filewich with a clean, open ice check just 4:48 into the contest Sunday night. Wade Skolney took exception to the hit and chased Kaleta down and attacked him from behind, similarly to how Todd Bertuzzi attacked Steve Moore two seasons ago. Skolney was given two minutes for roughing and a ten minute misconduct penalty for the attack.
► Kaleta enjoyed his time in Buffalo with the Sabres. “It was amazing,” Kaleta said. “It’s hard to describe the experience. The guys were teasing me all the time for being the only guy in the NHL who lived at home. All the guys were great, but especially Adam Mair and Andrew Peters. They pulled me aside and helped me learn the system.”
► One area where Kaleta didn’t need any help was who to handle the situation that developed when Chris Neal hit Chris Drury in the head. “I saw the hit happen. Lindy put us out there, but he didn’t say anything to us. We knew what we had to do.”
► The Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton Penguins have ardent support from their fans. On Sunday night there were four buses of fans emptying into the Blue Cross Arena. Tom Grace, the radio voice of the Penguins, said that the booster club drove up from Wilkes-Barre on Saturday to see the Penguins fall 5-1 in Syracuse. The buses followed the team to Rochester for the contest Sunday night.
► The staff at the Blue Cross Arena was busy on Saturday and Sunday. After the Amerks game on Friday night, the staff stayed and set up for the Josh Groban concert that was Saturday night. After the concert, they broke down the concert stage and sound equipment and set up the arena for basketball. There were three Section V basketball games Sunday afternoon, the last ending around 4pm. That left the crew roughly an hour and a half to take down the basketball court, hoops, and wooden sub-floor in time for warm ups. To their credit, the rink was ready to go when the teams came out for the pre game warm ups, although Rochester did not have a goal to shoot on for the first two minutes of the warm up period.