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Amerks win another, Rochester beats Laval



(Rochester, NY) With four goal different goal-scorers, including a pair from Andrew Oglevie, the Rochester Americans (23-13-2-4) defeated the North Division rival Laval Rocket (22-18-3-1) 5-2 at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday night.

The win was Rochester’s third this season against Laval while having outscored the Rocket 13-4 over that span. Additionally, the Amerks improved to 12-3-0 all-time versus the Rocket to remain within four points of first place in the AHL’s North Division standings going into the final game prior to the annual All-Star break.

Along with Oglevie’s 11 and 12th goals of the campaign, Sean Malone, C.J. Smith and Scott Wilson all rounded out the scoring for the Amerks. Goaltender Jonas Johansson (13-3-3) made his second straight start and stopped 31 of the 33 shots that he faced in net to improve to 11-1-1 in his last 13 appearances. Dating back to Nov. 13, the Swedish netminder shows a .930 save percentage to go with his 2.11 goals-against average.

Forward Kevin Lynch tallied his fifth of the season while defenseman Gustav Olofsson recorded his first maker of the slate for Laval, who have lost three of its last four road games. Netminder Keith Kinkaid (3-6-1) made his 10th appearance of the campaign but suffered the loss despite 30 saves.

The Amerks drew the contest’s first power-play at the 9:13 mark of the opening period and they capitalized with the extra skater to build a 1-0 lead as Oglevie steered in a John Gilmour left point shot.

“We put a lot of pressure on their defensemen,” attributed Oglevie when asked what led to tonight’s win. “We made it difficult for them to get out of their zone, and as a result, we forced a lot of turnovers and generated some quality offensive chances.”

Two-time AHL All-Star and reigning Eddie Shore Award winner, Zach Redmond, recorded the secondary helper to book his team-leading 21st assist of the season.

Nearly four minutes later, the Amerks found some puck luck as Malone dumped the puck in on Kinkaid from the center-ice logo. As the netminder attempted to start the play in transition, he banked it off the legs of a teammate and the puck trickled through the netminder’s legs and into the net.

“I didn’t even see what happened,” smiled Malone. “Sometimes it seems those are the types of bounces that have gone against us lately. It was good to open the flood gates as you would say. It feels good to help the team any way I can.”

After Rochester carried the two-goal lead into the intermission break, Smith dropped a behind-the-back pass to Will Borgen just inside the offensive zone at the 13:50 mark of the second stanza. Borgen fired a shot off the pads of Kinkaid and Smith tucked it under the crossbar to give the Amerks a 3-0 lead.

Laval countered back on the ensuing shift but the Amerks showed a two-goal cushion going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.

“Tonight and Wednesday night I thought we had the consistency for the full 60 minutes,” said Johansson. “It has been a little bit of a struggle lately but the last two games we have been able to do that well as a team.”

Midway through the third period, seconds after just missing on an odd-man rush with Casey Mittelstadt and Jean-Sebastian Dea, Wilson tipped in a Jacob Bryson shot to regain Rochester’s three-goal lead with 9:26 to play.

Despite the Rocket coming within a pair of goals on Lynch’s marker, Oglevie sealed the 5-2 victory with an empty-netter at the 18:35 mark.

“I thought the first period we came out strong,” explained Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “We dictated the game how we wanted to play and we got off to a great start.”

The Amerks close out the weekend on Saturday, Jan. 25 in Syracuse against the Crunch from Upstate Medical University Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest will serve as the front-end of a home-and-home series between the two teams that concludes after the annual AHL All-Star break. The game will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.