It started like a lot of games have recently. A 1-1 tie that turned into the Bulldogs up 2-1, then up by 3-1, and it was hard not to think that it was another night of "been here, done this" in downtown Rochester. Sadly, losing has become typical and almost anticipated from this Rochester squad over the last several weeks. But this time, something was different.
"Can't complain about much these days - I believe we'll be okay!" (Oh, Honey, Be Okay)
Phil Varone, he of the many, many helpers, scored early into the first for the Amerks before the typical downward slide began. But Luke Adam and Zac Dalpe had something to say about how tired they are of losing. The Amerks were able to tie the game in the third and hold off the Hamilton offense. Andery Makarov shined in his start, turning away 31 of 34 shots, and looking a lot like someone campaigning for more ice time (but maybe that's just my continued wishful thinking).More importantly, the Amerks put up 37 shots in regulation. They had plenty of chances and they were taking them - something that isn't always their strong suit.
Then, the best thing that could've come, for those of us in the press box, anyhow, did: overtime. I don't think anyone wanted it more than myself and three others (who shall remain nameless). I mean, a regulation win would've been incredible and the Amerks surely could use it, but the prospect of 3-on-3 hockey is alluring! It was Chad Ruhwedel, assisted by Johan Larsson and Mikhail Grigorenko, on the power play nearly six minutes into OT who finally ended it. Not for lack of trying on his teammates parts - Grigorenko had some good looks (and some incredible fans) early in the OT period, and the Amerks as a whole looked a lot stronger in this game than they have looked in recent games.
That's the most frustrating part, I think, in watching this team. It's not like they're out there, getting demolished night after night. There is just one little thing that seems to be missing every night, but it's never the same thing. Their inconsistencies are their downfall. Their poor choices in goaltending certainly aren't helping. One win is great, and it's a good start, but will it be a start or just a blip on a map of this skid that still sorta seems never-ending? The goal for the Amerks needs to be being more consistent, scoring dirty goals - they did them well Saturday night, and finding some answers in net. Again, I get that your goaltenders need to play, but play the one who looks like he knows what he's doing. That needs to be a key right now.
The Amerks welcome the Syracuse Crunch to town on Wednesday, as they continue a season-long eight game home stand. This will be the third match up between these two teams, with the Amerks 1-1 so far. These teams will meet 10 times this season (thanks, awesome AHL scheduling!). As always, I'll have your Amerks updates as I know of them over on Twitter and your game takes live from the arena Wednesday.