Recap: Texas Stars @ Amerks, 02.10.12
“Do I hold my breath and count to ten? Or, will it be three? We’ll see, we’ll see. It depends on which day of the week.” (Jason Mraz, 10,000 Motherf*****s)
Everyone! EVERYONE!! LOOK HERE! Michael Ryan started tonight for the Rochester Americans and went on to score nine goals! No, no, no. The TEAM scored nine goals. Mike Ryan was one of only four Amerks who didn’t get a point tonight, actually.
I’m sorry. I’m totally a Mike Ryan downer right now (maybe it’s his eyebrows). I apologize. Well, I don’t, really, but I do. More later. What I will apologize for, and mean it (at least for right now) are all the nasty tweets I’ve issued, and the not-so-nice things I’ve said here, about Zack Kassian. I take it all back. No, really. He played like a man looking for a contract tonight, and I really couldn’t have been happier. Shorthanded breakaway goal? Done. Even strength goal? Check. Skated hard, fast, and actually looked like he knew what he was doing? By golly, I think he’s got it! This kid could NOT have played better tonight.
Let me go back to the beginning, though. The Amerks met the Texas Stars once before, on Texas ice, and lost 6-2, over my birthday weekend. Thanks, guys! I headed into tonight’s game hoping, at best, for a close and physical game. At worst, we’d suffer another blow out at the hands of this Texas team. Home ice advantage is something the Amerks are well-familiar with, however, boasting an 8-5-2-0 record in their last 15 home games. Soo … I was hoping the odds were in our favor, with Drew MacIntyre (or Mac, as I call him) starting in net and Mike Ryan, upright, on skates, and in the lineup. The Amerks got off to a good start, with Kassian scoring the first goal of the night, and Maxime Legault increasing the lead before sending the teams into intermission.
The second period started and things didn’t look so great. In a span of :59, with one coming on the power play, Texas scored two goals and tied the game. :47 later, Mark Voakes scored his seventh of the season, putting Rochester back into the lead. For those of you playing along at home, that’s three goals in a span of 106 seconds. I wish I had video replay for how the next goal went down. Voakes, Crawford, and Whitmore played a lovely little tic-tac-toe and Whitmore scored a goal so beautiful, I think I cried a little. I mean, seriously. They could NOT have planned that goal better if they told the whole game to stop going on around them so they could set it up. But, I mean, hey. Why stop at 4-2? The Amerks went on the power play, and Szczechura scored the Amerks fifth goal. I literally had not finished composing the tweet when everyone’s favorite Californian hockey player, Jon Parker, scored the Amerks SIXTH goal of the night. Then, we bid a fond adieu to our Stars netminder friend Raycroft, and met a new friend, Beskorowany. Shortly after goaltender switch, Kassian got called on a very clear goaltender interference penalty, followed quickly by Mike Ryan on a slashing call, giving the Stars a 5-on-3 for a bit. Something you should know about the Stars? They are in the top five in the AHL, with 10 shorties this season. Something you should know about the Amerks? They did not allow a shortie tonight. DREW MAC SAYS NO. However, Zack Kassian said yes, and scored his second goal of the night – the shorthanded breakaway – while Ryan was still in the box, leading the Amerks into the second intermission with a 7-2 lead. Thanks to my friend Kevin O, over at Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle, I can tell you at this point that, prior to tonight’s 5-goals-in-a-period outburst, the Amerks had not scored more than three goals in a period.
The third period, unfortunately, started much like the second. Texas got their third on a cheap goal in which the puck flipped up into the air, rolled down off of Mac’s back, and over the goal line. Completely not Mac’s fault, by any means, just a fluky thing. However, Travis Turnbull said “oh, no, not tonight” (or, at least, that’s what he said in my head), and buried Rochester’s eighth goal of the night. Texas put another past Mac and, in another instance of my not being able to Tweet fast enough, Turnbull scored HIS second of the night, which would also be the last goal of the game, giving the Amerks a nine to four lead over the Stars. With less than five minutes left in the game, people started leaving (which I HATE). With less than two minutes left, the Stars took a boarding call on a hit-to-the-numbers that absolutely ROCKED my favorite Frenchie, Jacob Lagace. It’s pretty surreal, after the last few seasons that the Amerks have had, to hear several thousand people chanting, “we want ten” as the final seconds ticked down. Ten was not in the cards tonight, but nine was more than enough to get the job done for Rochester, as they split the two meetings with the Stars this season.
Game notes … This was Mike Ryan’s 400th professional game. Oddly enough, because that’s how things go with this organization, 215 of his games have come with Rochester. Congratulations, Mike! Otherwise, I can’t honestly say I was impressed, given how it seems like EVERY ONE IN ROCHESTER has been talking about how amazing Mike Ryan (and his eyebrows) is, but I wasn’t unimpressed, either. I was just kind of “meh” about him. Someone should tell him that Movember ended two months ago, however, and he looks silly … Prior to the game start, Paul Szczechura was presented with a plaque to mark his AHL Player of the Week honors. During the week of February 5, Chewy had 4 goals and 2 assists in three games. Chewy is the second Amerks player this season to be honored as player of the week, with Derek Whitmore holding the title for the week of November 27 … Only four Amerks did not get a point tonight: Mike Ryan, Jacob Lagace, Drew Schiestel, and Dennis Persson. Travis Turnbull finished the night with a +5. All of the Amerks players ended with a +/- of 0 or better. Conversely, 14 of the Texas Stars ended the night with a +/- of 0 (2 players) or worse (12 players). “Leading” the pack was Brendan Dillon, with a -5 … The Amerks went two for four on the PP.
Saturday night, the Amerks complete back-to-back games on home ice against the former Rochester Americans. Wait … what? The San Antonio Rampage, many of whom were last season’s Amerks, come to town. I have been looking forward to this game for a lot of reasons, most of which involve the “pretty boys” who play for that San Antonio team. Sorry, my puck bunny is showing. Sadly, one of my favorite goaltenders, Jacob Markstrom, will NOT be playing for San Antonio, as he is sidelined following knee surgery. Hopefully, the Amerks didn’t use up all of their scores for the weekend and can put on a good show against the Rampage.