The Rochester Americans snapped a season-high seven game losing streak after dishing out two early goals in both the first and second period for a 4-1 win over the visiting Manitoba Moose tonight at The Blue Cross Arena. As Rochester closes out the season series with Manitoba, the victory has allowed the Amerks to collect seven of the eight home points while wearing their home whites and gives them a (31-36-4-4) record as the season heads into its final weeks. After winning the past two of back-to-back tilts at home against Rochester, the Moose came out on the losing side of things tonight and fall to (42-28-1-5). Despite the loss, fellow North Division rival Lake Erie’s earlier 4-1 loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs helps Manitoba remain atop the division by two points (90).
Point-leader Mike Kostka (1+1) and center Tim Kennedy (0+2) both had multi-point games for the Amerks earning them the second and third star of the game, respectively. P.J. Fenton (1+0), who’s goal now puts him on a three-game point streak, Jordan Knackstedt (1+0) and Hugh Jessiman (1+0) also all dished out goals. Finally, Andrew Hotham (0+2) who is on an amateur try-out with the team also earned his first two professional points in Rochester’s first and last goals.
Rochester netminder Marc Cheverie, who stopped an impressive 36 of Manitoba’s 37 shots earned him top star honors in tonight’s contest, including keeping the Moose scoreless through nearly 45 minutes of play. Despite earning only his second win of the season, Cheverie has continued to get stronger while manning the crease since taking over the starting role in Plante’s absence.
With the lone-goal of the night forward Marco Rosa (1+0) continues his point streak, now posting four goals and three assists in the past five.
The Amerks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just 2:50 into the opening frame when Jessiman potted his eighth goal of the season. After Manitoba defenseman Keith Seabrook fumbled a dump-out just outside his own zone, Jessiman chipped the loose puck past the blueliner and beat Lack low to the glove side with a shot from just inside the left circle. Hotham picked up the loan assist on the play, his first professional point since joining the Amerks earlier this week.
Rochester doubled its lead just over two minutes later, chasing Lack from the Manitoba net in the process. After a slick give-and-go just inside the offensive zone blueline with Kennedy, Fenton beat the Moose goaltender to the blocker side with a backhander from the right faceoff dot. The tally was Fenton’s fifth of the season and his third point in as many games.
The Amerks struck early in the second period, scoring two goals within a span of 30 seconds to make the score 4-0. The first was sniped by Kostka, who received a soft touch pass from Kennedy along the right side of the offensive zone. Kostka was credited with his 15th goal, which leads AHL defensemen. Michael Duco got the secondary assist on the play. The second goal was scored by Knackstedt. While skating towards the slot, Knackstedt received a pass from Chris Taylor and made a nice one-on-one move to elude the defender and put the puck in the net. Hotham received the secondary assist, his second assist of the night.
The second period came to a close with Rochester on the winning side of things with 4-0 score. Goalie Cheverie has preserved the shutout despite 28 Moose shots throughout two.
After more than 40 minutes of scoreless hockey and despite doubling up the Amerks on shots, Moose center Rosa finally dished out the first tally of this night for Manitoba at 4:05 of the closing frame. Upon being fed the puck from second-year winger Sergei Shirokov, Rosa received the puck right in front of Cheverie and let it go for the score just inside the left post. With the goal, Rosa denied Cheverie’s attempt at his first career shutout and also extends his point streak to five games (4+3).
Rochester closes out the weekend on Saturday, April 2nd as the Amerks exchange pleasantries with the league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.