Amerks dominate Utica, 6-1 for fourth straight win

October 18, 2018 - 11:24 am
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The Rochester Americans look like a completely different team from their opening weekend of the 2018-19 season. After losing the first two games of the year against the Charlotte Checkers, the Amerks have responded with four straight wins, including a 6-1 romping of the Utica Comets on Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York.

After being out-scored by the Checkers 10-4 in the first two games, Rochester has out-scored the opponent 13-9 to become the of the highest-scoring teams in the American Hockey League. On top of that, the Amerks' power play unit has been red-hot as they lead the AHL with 11 goals, four more than the next closest team.

On Wednesday, the Amerks netted four power play goals as they made the most of their opportunities against the Comets.

Utica's penalty parade started early in the first period as defenseman Jalen Chatfield went off to the box for cross checking at the 1:04 mark. Just 1:12 later, defenseman Zach Redmond scored with a shot from the point that hit a Comets defender in front of the net and past goalie Richard Bachman. At the 12:01 mark of the first period, Utica got caught committing two separate slashing penalties as defenseman Dylan Blujus and forward Kole Lind put Utica in a 5-on-3 disadvantage for two full minutes. It did not take long for the Amerks to make Utica pay as Redmond scored his second power play goal of the period as his one-time shot slips through the five-hole of Bachman for the 2-0 lead. 33-seconds later, reigning AHL Player of the Week, Victor Olofsson ripped a high shot over the glove hand of Bachman to give Rochester a 3-0 lead.

Olofsson was named the Player of the Week on Monday after a seven-point effort (three goals and four assists) last week in three games. The 23-year-old scoring winger from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden was not done scoring as after Utica made it 3-1 early in the second period, Olofsson scored his second of the night with another blistering shot that beat Bachman on the glove side, top shelf. After a dump in from the point goes off a Comets skate, Alex Nylander turned to find Olofsson at the top of the faceoff circle, and the young Swede fired a snap shot in for the 4-1 lead.

Nearly four minutes later, Olofsson notched point No. 4 on the evening as he fed a pass back to the point for defenseman Andrew MacWilliam. His shot was re-directed on the way through by forward Danny O'Regan to give Rochester the 5-1 lead. With that point, that gave Olofsson his league-leading 12th point of the season, and his 11th point over the last four games.

The Amerks added their fourth power play goal in the third period as Rasmus Asplund notched his first career point in North America with a feed to Nylander off a rebound in front of the net. From the faceoff circle off to the right of Bachman, Nylander finished the play with a wrist shot past the sprawling Utica netminder to make the score 6-1.

When all was said and done, 11 players registered a point for the Amerks in the win, and four of them notched multi-point games. Along with Olofsson (2+2), Nylander (1+1) and Redmond (2+0), Lawrence Pilut continued his offensive production with three assists in the win. The 22-year-old Swedish defenseman now has two goals and 10 points in his first six games in the AHL, and now has eight points (1+7) in his last four games.

Here the complete list of current hot streaks going for the Amerks:

  • Olofsson - 11 points (5+6) in the last four games
  • Redmond - 9 points (4+5) in the last five games
  • Pilut - 8 points (1+7) in the last 4 games
  • Nylander - 7 points (2+5) in the last five games

In goal, Scott Wedgewood recorded win No. 2 of the season on Wednesday, turning away 24 of 25 shots faced. In the third period, Wedgewood slammed the door shut on Utica with a trio of beautiful saves in a span of a couple of minutes, including a sprawling save where he turned and made a Dominik Hasek-like save with his glove while facing the other way. The 26-year-old has posted a .917 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average in his last two starts.

The Amerks will look for win No. 5 on the season when they next play on Friday at Blue Cross Arena against the defending Calder Cup champion Toronto Marlies. Faceoff is set for 7:05 p.m. and can be heard on 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester with Don Stevens and Ric Seiling on the call.

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