Let me tell you everything you need to know about Sunday evening's Amerks loss, in one tweet or less: Nathan Lieuwen watched the game winning goal slide under his armpit and didn't stop it. That's actually a tweet, I measured it for size. I'm so frustrated. He probably is, too.
"Beginners test the waters and suffer the fates." (Red Wanting Blue, Finger In The Air)
It has been brought to my attention that I give Lieuwen a lot of flack a lot of the time, and I don't disagree. I want to like him as a goaltender. He seems like a good person. I'm just not sure that he's a good goaltender. And it's not like Amerks head coach Randy Cunneyworth has a lot of choices right now - his number one, Linus Ullmark, continues to split time in Buffalo with Chad Johnson. His number two, Andrey Makarov, simply cannot play every single game. And Lieuwen isn't a BAD goaltender. Sunday's goal was a fluke. I said, literally seconds prior to the Hartford Wolf Pack scoring the lone goal of the matchup, that it would be some strange goal that won the game, but it seemed like an entirely preventable one. It legitimately looked like Lieuwen simply watched the puck slip under his right armpit and into the goal and just didn't do anything to stop it, except probably swear at it.
I am one thousand percent sure that is not the case. The team as a whole didn't look great. In the second game of another back-to-back weekend home stand, and what ended up being the second of two losses, Rochester looked like they had lost all of the chemistry they seemed to have the prior weekend, when they put up 11 goals against Hartford and Albany. Instead, between Makarov and Lieuwen, the team allowed four goals to Utica and Hartford, with Hartford goaltender Jeff Malcolm earning his first AHL shutout. The lone Amerks goal of the weekend was credited to defenseman Matt Donovan Saturday against the Comets.
The Amerks will travel down the thruway Wednesday night to the First Niagara Center, where they will host the St John's IceCaps in the home of the Buffalo Sabres. The Amerks have faced the IceCaps four times already this season, splitting the series so far 2-2, with one win in OT. I cannot even begin to wager a bet on which Amerks team will show up, since they seem to be so "all or nothing" this season. They'll then hit the road for matchups against the Bridgeport Soundtigers (NY Islanders) and Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins).
I am joining with #HockeyFightsDV again this season, to benefit the Willow Center in Rochester, NY. I have pledged $1/Patrice Bergeron goal, $5/Amerks Goalie SO, $1/Amerks win, $2/"Ryan Miller Shutout," $25/Amerks or Sabres goalie point, to be updated at the end of each month this season. You can pledge, too, at hockeyfightsdv.tumblr.com.