The beginning of the season may have seemed like forever for the Amerks as well as the fans. Loss after loss, and if there wasn’t a loss, there was a tie. The twelve game winless streak finally came to an end, on November 8th against the Cleveland Barons. And what a win it was.
Ryan Miller kept the game-winning puck, to prove that he could succeed as a professional goalie, and Jason Botterill proved that he deserves to remain as the Amerks leading scorer when he tallied a four-point night, including a hat trick. It was the first hat trick of the season for the Amerks. The Amerks definitely deserved the win, peppering Cleveland’s goalie with 45 shots on goal.
The 4-2 win was a fierce contest, and for any fan that thought the game was over after the second period and decided to leave, missed the best of the game. It wasn’t until the third period when the score was tied at 1 that The Barons’ Travis Hansen scored on a power play to take the lead. After his goal, the Baron’s weren’t heard from again. The Amerks had three unanswered goals. The Amerks took a 5 on 3 advantage, and turned what is usually an unproductive power play into a one goal lead. Botterill tipped in a shot from Francois Methot to tie the game, and half a minute later, before the bench had even settled from excitement, Norm Milley put the puck in the net. Botterill clinched the win with an empty net goal. Once the Amerks win was guaranteed, the tension from the game was unleashed, and the gloves began to drop. McMarrow and Jorde both had their chance to fight, and Paul Gaustad received a last second penalty for roughing. When the game ended, the teams began to rough each other up, and it wasn’t until the players were separated, that Miller raised his glove, and the Amerks rushed the ice to enjoy their first victory.
Sunday night the Amerks made the one win into a two game winning streak, winning 5-2 against the Chicago Wolves.
Denis Hamel led the team in shots for the night with seven and it paid off getting a hat trick. Rory Fitzpatrick was next in shots with four, and he scored twice for the Amerks, proving that more shots to the net, gets the goals.
Hamel began the scoring for the Amerks in the second period, putting the Amerks on the board, and then clinching a lead with another goal ten minutes later. After Hamel put the second goal on the board, Fitzpatrick took the opportunity to score, what turned out to be the game-winner, only thirty seconds later.
Miller was in net again for the Amerks. The win put him at 2-7-2. The Amerks worked hard, and in return were given another win.
It wasn’t until Monday night that the Amerks hard work didn’t pay off as well. Tom Askey was in net for the contest against the Norfolk Admirals. Both teams fought hard, but in the end the Admirals came out with the win.
The Amerks couldn’t convert either of their two 5 on 3 opportunities, while the Admirals managed to score on their 5 on 3 opportunity. The Admirals lead in shots 30 to 28. And the Admirals scored twice on ten of their power play opportunities, while the Amerks couldn’t score on their nine power plays.
Milan Bartovic put the Amerks on the board 35 seconds into the second period, scoring his second of the season. Denis Hamel scored the second and last goal of the night for the Amerks with ten minutes left in the second.
Hamel was struck with a puck between his eyes late in Friday night’s game. After the swelling reduced a bit, Hamel practiced Saturday with the team and managed to play both Sunday and Monday night, coming out with five points in the two games.
Chris Taylor returned from the injured reserved list after hyper-extending his elbow. His line (Milley, Botterill) was the major scoring unit (6 points) for Friday night’s win.
The Amerks play four of the next five games at home.