Michael Mersch (2+0), Brandon Davidson (1+1) and Jack Quinn (0+2) all recorded a pair of points to help the Rochester Americans (3-2-0-0) to a 4-3 victory over the Laval Rocket (4-3-0-0) Friday night at Place Bell.
With the win, Rochester improves to 14-3-0-0 all-time against Laval ahead of Saturday afternoon’s rematch and have been victorious in 10 of the last 11 meetings dating back to the 2017-18 campaign. Additionally, through the first 17 games in the head-to-head series with the Rocket, the Amerks have scored three or more goals in 13 contests, which includes eight of the nine meetings north of the border.
While Mersch and Quinn each produced their second and third multi-point effort of the season, respectively, Davidson collected his first since Dec. 18, 2019 as a member of Stockton Heat. Casey Fitzgerald scored the game-winning goal with his second marker of the campaign to complete the scoring while goaltender Aaron Dell (2-0-0) made his second appearance of the season and he made 32 saves.
Laval forward Ryan Poehling collected a pair assists while Corey Schueneman and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard both scored their first goals of the season in the loss, which snapped the Rocket’s season-opening three-game home win streak. Xavier Ouellet notched his second tally of the season during the third period of regulation as netminder Cayden Primeau (3-1-0), who posted a shutout Wednesday night against the Toronto Marlies, stopped 18 of the 22 shots he faced and suffered his first loss of the season.
As the Amerks were holding a slim 3-2 lead with under five minutes left in regulation, the line trio of JJ Peterka, Sean Malone and Quinn kept the Rocket trapped inside their own zone for an extended shift. After Peterka dove to knock the puck free and Quinn kept it inside the blueline, Malone skated down the right wall before leaving the puck to Fitzgerald at the right point. The third-year defenseman stepped into a shot and rifled it past the glove of Primeau to put Rochester up 4-2 with 4:47 remaining in the third period.
Laval scored 25 seconds after the goal to trim Rochester’s advantage, but it would be as close as they would get as Dell and the Amerks held on for the 4-3 victory to improve to 8-1-0-0 all-time inside Place Bell against the Rocket.
With Amerks forward Brendan Warren drawing a tripping penalty early in the first period, Rochester was awarded the game’s first power-play at the 3:21 mark.
Needing just 16 seconds into the infraction, the Amerks capitalized on the man-advantage as they used quick passing around the perimeter before Mersch gathered a Quinn shot behind the net and stuffed it under the left pad of Primeau.
The teams were not able to generate much offense during the rest of the period as Rochester took a 1-0 lead into the intermission break.
In the opening minute of the second period, however, the Amerks doubled their lead as Davidson blasted a shot past a screened Primeau from atop the right face-off dot.
Ethan Prow and Brandon Biro, who had a pair of assists in his season debut Wednesday night, were credited with the helpers on Davidson’s first goal as an Amerk as Matej Pekar was out in front of Primeau before Davidson fired the shot.
The Rocket cut into Rochester’s lead as Schueneman scored his first tally of the season at the 15:17 mark while Laval was on the power-play.
Despite the Rocket outing shooting the Amerks 10-1 through the first seven minutes of the stanza and the score being a one-goal game, Mersch’s second of the night restored Rochester’s two-goal advantage with 10:21 to play in the frame.
On his second tally of the night, Mersch was positioned out in-front of the goal crease when Davidson sent a low shot towards the Rocket net. The Amerks team captain provided a last-second redirection for his fourth goal of the slate. Linus Weissbach and Davidson were credited with the assists.
Over Mersch’s last three games, he has recorded six points (4+2) to move into second on the team in scoring while Davidson has five points (1+4) in his last five outings, which includes three assists in each of the last three contests. He’s currently four points off the AHL lead for most by a defenseman.
The score remained unchanged until Harvey-Pinard scooped a backhanded shot over the left shoulder of Dell 6:20 into the final period of regulation.
Fitzgerald delivered the game-winner at the 15:13 mark before Ouellet capped of the scoring on the night with his second of the season 42 seconds later.
The Amerks wrap up their four-game Canadian road swing and go for the weekend sweep on Saturday, Oct. 30 in a rematch against the Rocket at the Place Bell. Following the 1:00 p.m. tilt, the teams remain idle until Laval makes its first trip of the campaign to Rochester on Dec. 11.