Thursday, April 22, 2010

Amerks in Complete Control after 6-1 Win

The Rochester Americans used another four-goal second period to cruise to a 6-1 win in Game 4 tonight over the Abbotsford Heat and take a 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven North Division semifinals. With its third straight win, Rochester now needs just one more victory to win the series and advance to the second round (North Division Finals) of the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs. The game was also the second of three straight this week from the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.

Defenseman Jordan Henry scored twice, Jeff Taffe assisted on three goals and four others each tallied a goal and an assist as Tyler Plante earned his third straight win with a 46-save effort. Josh Meyers was the lone scorer for the hometown Heat and ex-Amerk David Shantz dropped his third straight game with 16 saves.

The Heat outshot the Amerks 47-22 in the contest, including 23-4 in the first period alone. Rochester, however, made up for it on the power-play, converting on four of six opportunities, while holding Abbotsford scoreless on its six man-up situations. For the second straight game, the Amerks scored four unanswered goals in the second and five straight as Rochester has now outscored Abbotsford 20-9 through the first four games of the series.

Despite being outshot 23-4 in the opening period, the Amerks were able to jump out to a 1-0 lead and maintain it throughout the frame. For the first time in the series, Rochester opened the scoring in the contest, on its very first shot, midway through the first period as Jamie Johnson beat Shantz low glove-side for his first of the postseason the power-play. Jason Garrison beamed his notorious slap shot from the center of the blueline into traffic, and after Shawn Matthias’ first attempt was denied, Johnson picked up the loose puck and tucked it just inside the far post at the 8:49 mark. With the assists, Garrison extended his point streak to four games and Matthias established his first three-game point string of the playoffs.

Abbotsford knotted the game at one courtesy of Meyers’ first of the playoffs at 4:14 of the second stanza. Mikael Backlund led his team into Rochester’s zone along the right-wing boards and found a breaking Meyers in the slot, who’s quick shot eluded Plante with enough force to slide past the goal line. The goal would stand as the only one for the Heat, as Plante was impenetrable for the next 35:46 of play.
The game remained tied for just a short period of time, however, as Henry potted back-to-back goals, including one on the power-play, 78 seconds apart to give the Amerks a 3-1 lead. His first at 7:03 gave him his league-leading third power-play tally before his team-leading fourth goal at 8:21. With the goals, Henry, who has four goals in as many games, now ranks second among the league’s top goal-scorers and moved into sixth in scoring among AHL defenseman.

Rochester quickly extended its lead to 5-1 with goals just 32 seconds apart from Garrison and Michal Repik. Garrison banked one off the post on the power-play at 18:22 and Repik scored his first career playoff goal at 18:50 from Evgeny Dadonov and David Brine.
The Amerks’ power-play struck again at 4:43 of the final frame as Chris Taylor collected a goal-mouth rebound and lifted it into the top of the net for his first of the playoffs. Repik picked up his second point of the night with an assist on the play, and Taffe tabbed his third helper of the game to help Rochester to a 6-1 cushion and its fifth straight goal.

Rochester looks to capture the series on Friday, April 23rd in Game 5 of the North Division semifinals at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. The 10:00 p.m. EST contest will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The Amerks will return home to The Blue Cross Arena for Games 6 and 7, if necessary, on Sunday, April 25th and Tuesday, April 27th.

From the Rochester Americans