The Rochester Americans (6-4-0-0) held a one-goal lead on three different occasions only to see the Cleveland Monsters (5-2-1-3) fight their way back each time before ultimately prevailing for a 4-3 win in the first of back-to-back meetings between the two teams Friday at The Blue Cross Arena.
Amerks forwards Mark Jankowski (1+0) and Brett Murray (1+0) each scored their second goals in as many games, while rookie forward Jack Quinn (1+0) continued his torrid start to the season, scoring his team-leading eighth goal of the season midway through the final frame. Defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (0+2) had the lone multi-point effort of the night with two assists, while defenseman Ethan Prow (0+1) added a helper on Jankowski’s first-period marker and forwards JJ Peterka (0+1) and Ryan MacInnis (0+1) each had an assist.
Rochester goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (3-4-0) made his seventh start in the crease this season and his second in just three days, finishing with 39 saves.
Cleveland forwards Tristan Mullin (1+0) and Justin Danforth (1+0) each found the back of the net for Cleveland, while forward Brendan Gaunce (1+1) tallied a multi-point game with a goal and an assist.
Monsters goaltender Daniil Tarasov (1-2-2) made his fifth start of the season and notched his first win of the year, making 25 saves on 28 shots faced.
It was a back-and-forth opening period as the teams combined for three goals with the Amerks striking first on Jankowski’s third of the season at 9:10. After winning a loose-puck battle in the right corner, Peterka made a centering pass through the slot to Jankowski, who one-timed the offering past Tarasov to give the Amerks a 1-0 advantage.
The assist, Peterka’s team-leading ninth in 10 games, extends the rookie’s point streak to five straight games, having collected six points (1+5) over that span. He now has 11 points through his first 10 games, tying him for third-most among all rookies and 14th overall in the AHL.
Prow, who was credited with the secondary assist, also pushed his point streak to three games (0+3) while also showing five assists over his last six games.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Monsters answered just 31 seconds later. An initial shot by John Scott from point-blank range was turned away by Luukkonen, but a second-chance opportunity by Mullin somehow made its way through the net-front traffic following the ensuing scramble and trickled in for his first of the season.
Despite getting outshot for most of the period, the Amerks retook the lead with 2:59 remaining thanks to Murray’s second in as many games. After keeping the puck inside the Cleveland zone, Samuelsson flung a shot on net from the left point. Tarasov made the initial save but was unable to handle the rebound, allowing Murray enough time to nudge it past the Monsters netminder for a 2-1 Amerks lead.
Although Rochester clung to its slim one-goal lead for most of the second period, Cleveland knotted the score at 2-2 in the final minutes of the middle frame when Foudy converted Gaunce’s rebound from the top of the crease. As Foudy entered the Rochester zone on an odd-man rush, he paused momentarily before firing a shot on that was knocked down by Luukkonen. The puck dropped right to the stick of Gaunce, who simply tapped into the open net for his fourth of the season.
The back-and-forth exchange continued into the third period with Rochester once again regaining the lead midway through the final frame. As the Amerks embarked on their fourth penalty kill of the, Quinn put his speed and finesse on display, surging past a Cleveland defender before picking the upper left corner from in-between the face-off dots for a highlight reel shorthanded tally. Quinn’s team-leading eighth marker of the season game the Amerks a 3-2 lead with 9:02 to remaining.
Cleveland was quick to respond again, however, this time capitalizing on a 5-on-3- two-man advantage with Danforth converting a back-door feed from Christiansen for the team’s lone power-play goal of the night. Meyer then broke 3-3 stalemate with 4:30 to play and the Monsters held on for the 4-3 win.
The Amerks have a shot at redemption on Saturday, Nov. 13 as the North Division rivals close out their two-game set with a rematch at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 6:05 p.m. start and will be carried live on 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.