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The Rochester Report
Amerks move closer to playoffs with win over Toronto
ROCHESTER (LGS) — During the course of the season I’ve tried to bring a variety of styles when doing the weekly Rochester Report. Some weeks have brought feature stories on guys like Daniel Paille, Drew Stafford and Patrick Kaleta to name a few. Other weeks have been more a look back with recaps of games played home and away.

This week, I thought I’d try the “running diary” method to bring you inside Rochester's 5-3 victory over Toronto Wednesday night.

First Period: (Time remaining)

(20:00) – Alright everybody, we’re live at the Blue Cross Arena. The starting lineup for the Amerks tonight has Adam Dennis between the pipes, Martin Lojek and Noah Welch on defense and Michael Ryan, Rob Globke, and Marek Zagrapan up front.

Toronto starts Justin Pogge in goal, Marc Moro and Jaime Sifers on defense, and Robbie Earl, Alex Foster and Martin Sagat at forward.

The anthem singer just finished and Chris Ciamaga is ready to drop the puck.

(19:31) – Marek Zagrapan gets his name on the score sheet early when he goes to the box for tripping.

(18:56) – John Mitchell makes the Amerks pay, when he buries a rebound past Dennis. It’s his 14th goal of the year, and makes it 1-0 Toronto.

(18:33) – Alright, not even two minutes in and we’ve seen two penalties called. Toronto’s Jaime Sifers goes for slashing.

(17:30) – Pogge makes a nice glove save to rob Ryan. Ryan had worked his way into the slot to collect a Martin Lojek pass.

(14:14) – Michael Ryan is sent to the “sin-bin” for hooking.

(11:05) – Another penalty on the Amerks. This time it’s Stefan Meyer heading to the box for boarding. Meyer hit Brent Aubin into the end boards, and Aubin lost his footing in the process. The consensus in the press box is that the penalty was called because the end result looked worse than the hit really was.

(8:49) – An obvious hooking call coming up against Toronto’s Brent Engelhardt. Engelhardt took down Meyer along the right wing boards.

(7:30) – Rochester’s best scoring opportunity on the night so far. Drew Larman races up center ice with Anthony Stewart on his left side. Larman entered the Toronto zone and let a shot go from the low slot. Pogge made a sliding pad save, Stewart took a swing at the rebound but it went right into Pogge’s chest.

(6:38) – Dennis point blank save on Engelhardt, who had slipped behind the Rochester “D”.

(4:18) – Ciamaga calls another penalty against Rochester, holding on Stefan Meyer.

(3:54) – Rochester’s Jeremy Swanson gets tripped up behind his own net trying to clear the zone on the penalty kill. No call. Fans are getting restless.

(3:28) – The governor is in the house. Elliot Spitzer was just shown on the jumbotron.

(2:25) – NICE glove save by Dennis to keep it a one goal deficit.

(1:08) – So far the first period has been kind of a “yawner.” Hopefully the second and third periods are more exciting than this. Toronto has played the typical road game to this point, sitting back and waiting for mistakes by the home team. That being said, the shots in the first period are 16 for Toronto and 9 for Rochester.

Second Period

(20:00) – The sheet of ice has been cleaned up and we’re ready for round two.

(18:30) – John Mitchell, two minutes for being a Marlie. Just kidding. Two minutes for high sticking.

(17:53) – Mancari blisters a shot from the point that sails just wide of the net (think Scott Norwood). Stefan Meyer is there to bang away at the rebound, but Pogge comes up big with the save.

(16:46) – The hometown faithful have something to cheer about! Michael Ryan fired a pass to an uncovered Mark Mancari. Mancari’s shot was stopped by Pogge, but he couldn’t control the rebound and it went to Ryan. Ryan fired a wrist shot into the net to tie the contest at one.

(14:33) – Adam Dennis gets called for tripping, putting Toronto on the power play for the fifth time on the night. Anthony Stewart serves the penalty for Rochester.

(12:53) – Noah Welch goes off for holding. Toronto has a 5 on 3 for :20.

(12:29) – WOW! Big series of saves by Dennis. First it was a pad save, then a blocker, rebound went to the ice and Mitchell shot it right back into his pads. Sitting on his fanny, Dennis closes his legs around the puck to get the whistle.

(12:04) – An even bigger WOW! Patrick Kaleta streaks into the Toronto zone after intercepting a pass in his own zone. Kaleta raced in on Pogge, fought off a stick check, made a move that would make Thomas Vanek blush, and buried it for a shorthanded goal. It’s Kaleta’s fifth goal of the year! 2-1 Rochester!

“I blocked the shot and took it deep,” recalled Kaleta. “I’m glad I can contribute like that. This was an important game for us.”

(10:11) –Toronto ties it at 2. Colin Murphy finds the back of the net for Toronto.

(9:13) – Dylan Hunter rifles a shot in from the slot! 3-2 Rochester! Hunter intercepted a Toronto clearing pass in the neutral zone and skates in 2 on 1 with Kaleta. Hunter let a rocket go and beat Pogge high to the glove side. Great play by Hunter. Not too sounds too much like Dan Dierdorf, but here we go. You want to talk about a player who has grown leaps and bounds this year…

Afterwards when he was asked where that shot came from, Hunter just smiled and said, “I dunno … I got the puck in a good spot, and shot it as hard as I could and happened to beat him high to the glove side.”

(8:08) – Good period of hockey so far. Both teams are moving the puck up and down the ice well, and getting quality scoring chances.

(6:32) – Ahhhh, the kiss-cam. Nothing like watching a bunch of 40 year olds making out with each other in public! Good times! I bet the Democrat and Chronicle’s Kevin Oklobzia $5 that the camera operator will put the Toronto bench on the video screen… I mean I would have if gambling was, you know, legal and stuff. Anyways, I’m glad he didn’t get the chance too take me up on the offer (because of the illegality of gambling and all) because the camera operator didn’t put the Marlies on the video board. I think it’s the first time all year that’s happened.

(4:50) – Dennis, delay of game for flipping the puck into the stands. Anthony Stewart again is the player who will serve the penalty. This is Toronto’s sixth power play on the night.

(2:25) – Owen Fussey goes off for hooking as the stadium music technician plays “Hallelujah!” It will be Rochester’s fourth power play of the evening.

(1:42) – Robbie Earl has a shorthanded breakaway. Bearing in on Dennis, Earl losses control of the puck and Dennis calmly directs it to his right wing boards.

(:11) – Dennis makes a nice glove save on Jeff Corey. The shot would have probably gone over the net.

(:00) – After 40 minutes of play its 3-2 Rochester. Off to look for amusing videos on youtube. Be back in 18 minutes.

Third Period

(20:00) – Trivia question to start off the third period. Who was the last player to wear number 16 for the Buffalo Sabres?

(18:09) – Mancari enters the Toronto zone and scoots around a fallen Marlie defender by doing a little toe-drag of the puck. Pogge made a good stick save to deflect the puck into the corner.

(16:00) – Noah Welch gets four minutes for roughing. I had just thought to myself how it was nice to see the players skate for a few minutes and not have a whistle blow for a penalty. So much for that idea. This was a legit roughing. Welch went after Karel Pilar, who had hit Michael Ryan. Welch apparently thought that Pilar threw an elbow at Ryan and was sticking up for his teammate. Always good times.

(14:10) – Chris Ciamaga ladies and gentlemen! He lets a blatant obstruction / hooking go that impeded the progress of Rochester’s Drew Larman. Saying this guy is inconsistent is like saying there are rainy days in April in Western NY.

(13:04) – David Cloutier, interference. Only the fifth penalty called against Toronto this evening. We’re now skating 4 on 4.

(10:49) – A clear goal by Toronto might be getting waved off. Coming in on a 3 on 2, David Cloutier fired a shot on goal and the rebound was deposited into the back of the net by Robbie Earl. Immediately after getting put into the net, a Toronto crashed into Dennis and knocked the net off its moorings. None of the three on-ice officials saw the puck go into the net so they called it a no goal.

The traveling party from Toronto was none too pleased with the call, rightfully so. They were clearly robbed. Our boy Ciamaga said that the “whistle had blown” before the puck went in.

A scrum ensued, and Earl and Jay Harrison went off for roughing for Toronto and Michael Ryan and Jeremy Swanson went off for Rochester.

(10:09) – Stewart goes to the box for tripping.

(8:03) – Marek Zagrapan is hooked by Dominic D’Amour. Rochester goes on the power play for the sixth time.

(8:00) – Problem with the glass in the Rochester zone, to the right of goal tender Adam Dennis. It gives me a minute to discuss the referees. I’m not one to normally pile on officials. They have a tough job, and for the most part do a good job. Chris Ciamaga does not. He seemingly loses control of games every night, calling tick-tack penalties early and letting more major infractions go uncalled as the game wears on. It has to be frustrating for the players to in addition to worrying about their opponent to also wonder what will be called and what won’t be.

Hunter said after the game that is frustrating, “there’s no flow at the beginning of the game because he calls so much. We’d rather he let little things go at the beginning and then get stricter as the game goes on.”

(4:32) – Rochester jumps out 4-2 on a Drew Larman goal. Absolutely terrible play by Justin Pogge. Welch put a simple wrist shot on net which hit Pogge’s glove. Pogge couldn’t hang on and the puck dropped right onto the stick of Larman who wristed it past the fallen Marlie keeper into the net.

(3:50) – Toronto pulls within one, 4-3. Jay Harrison. Somewhere his parents smile.

(1:52) – Anthony Stewart gives the puck away in the neutral zone. Earl flies into the Rochester zone and fires a shot high over Dennis and off the end glass.

(1:16) – Stewart atones for his near give-away causing goal by streaking in 2 on 1 and snapping a shot inside the near post! 5-3 Rochester with 1:16 to go.

(:50) – The Toronto net is empty.

(:00) – That’s it! Game over. Winner, winner, chicken dinner. Rochester earns two points with a 5-3 victory over Toronto. Finally tally for shots is 43 – 30, Toronto out shoots Rochester.

Three stars for tonight, Welch (3), Hunter (2), Kaleta (1).

Head coach Randy Cunneyworth was pleased with the effort his guys gave him tonight.

“It was a good effort, against a very good team; a hard working team that will probably miss the playoffs.

“We pressured them hard and they made some mistakes we were able to capitalize on.

“Adam Dennis played a great game in net (40 saves) and Kaleta and the special teams did a great job.”

Answer to the trivia question: Chris Taylor is the last player to wear number 16 for the Sabres. Taylor skated in 90 games wearing the Red, Silver and Black between 1999 and 2004. Taylor potted 8 goals and pitched in 12 assists. Taylor just finished his first year playing in the German Elite League with the Frankfurt Lions. In 52 games Taylor scored 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points.

The rest of the week:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 – Toronto Marlies 5, Rochester Americans 4

A mid-week contest saw the Amerks blow an early lead, and then have their rally fall just short as the Marlies pulled out the road contest.

Rochester jumped ahead 2-0 on first period goals by Mikko Lehtonen and Mark Mancari.

That two goal advantage didn’t even get the Amerks out of the first period with the lead. Toronto’s Colin Murphy and David Cloutier closed out the stanza with goals for the Marlies.

Rochester wouldn’t score again until Drew Larman added a tally with just over 3:00 remaining in the second. Larman’s goal pulled Rochester to within one, at 4-3.

Murphy potted his second on the night 9:45 into the third with what proved to be the game winner.

Rob Globke scored with :15 left to end the scoring.

Adam Dennis made 24 saves for the Amerks.

Friday, March 30, 2007 – Rochester Americans 5, Toronto Marlies 2

Friday night was the Michael Ryan show. In his second game back from the Buffalo Sabres, Ryan showed that he has the scoring touch in the American Hockey League.

Ryan scored the game-tying and game-winning goals 4:05 apart in the third period and assisted on two others on the night.

The two goals give Ryan 22 on the season.

David Shantz made his Amerks debut between the pipes and played well.

The game was a fight-filled contest, with each team accumulating 55 minutes in penalties on the night.

The punch of the night came when Amerk forward Anthony Stewart knocked David Cloutier to the ice with one punch. It would have made Mike Tyson – heck, even that goon Ray Emery – proud.

Saturday, March 31, 2007 – Hamilton Bulldogs 7, Rochester Americans 4

Hamilton seemingly continues to dominate the Americans on the 2006-07 season, winning the latest installment in Copps Coliseum.

Mark Mancari led the way for the Amerks with three assists on the night, and was an even in the plus/minus department.

David Shantz played his second game in as many nights between the pipes, with much different results. Shantz allowed 7 goals on 31 shots.

Three Stars for the weekend:

  1. Michael Ryan – “scary good” since returning from Buffalo
  2. Noah Welch – big body on the blue line, truly a “can’t miss” NHL player
  3. Patrick Kaleta – does all the little things to help the team out

AHL Wrist Shots:

  • Hilton, NY native Ryan Callahan was named to the AHL All-Rookie team. Callahan scored 35 goals in 60 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack.
  • Mancari is currently on a four game point scoring streak (1g, 7a).
  • Anthony Stewart returned to the Amerks lineup after missing time due to the sudden death of his mother.
  • Patrick Kaleta was named the Rochester Americans “Man of the Year” for his work in the Rochester Community. Kaleta is among 27 finalists for the title of AHL Man of the Year. Kaleta has gone to numerous schools in the Rochester area and read books to children as a part of the Reading Power Play program.
By Stephen Sickles, LGS Columnist
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