Sami Aittokallio stopped 36 shots in net and Mark Olver scored the deciding goal in the fifth round of the shootout as the Lake Erie Monsters shutout the Rochester Americans 1-0 Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. With the loss, the Amerks record drops to 13-11-2-3 on the season.
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Nathan Lieuwen got the start for the Amerks in net and stopped 24 shots from Lake Erie in regulation and overtime to earn his first shutout of the season.
Aittokallio’s win was his sixth of the season as the netminder stifled the Rochester attack the entire evening, including 16 shots in the opening period alone.
After both teams took penalties towards the end of the first period, Andrew Agozzino was sprung for a breakaway during the four-on-four session. In all alone on Lieuwen, Agozzino attempted a back-hand deke, but the goaltender made a sprawling left pad save.
The Amerks nearly broke the scoreless tie early in the second period when Matt Mackenzie pinched in down low and slid a pass over to Luke Adam back-door, but Adam was denied by Aittokallio.
At the 13:40 point of the third period, Mikael Tam was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging Mike Zigomanis. Shortly thereafter, Drew Bagnall dropped the gloves with Tam, and was penalized two minutes for instigating, along with a five-minute major for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct. The teams played two minutes of four-on-four hockey, followed by a three-minute power-play for Rochester, but the Amerks couldn’t take advantage with the extra man.
Lake Erie nearly scored the winner with just over three minutes left in regulation when Agozzino took a sharp angle shot that snuck through Lieuwen’s arm, but the goaltender recovered just in time to stop the puck from crossing the goal-line.
Despite strong pressure from Lake Erie in the waning moments, they could not solve Lieuwen. Overtime was no different, as neither team could beat the opposing netminder.
In the shootout, Colin Jacobs, who was recalled by the Amerks earlier in the day, beat Aittokallio five-hole to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead. However, Colin Smith and Olver scored for Lake Erie in the second and fifth rounds, respectively. Needing a successful attempt to extend the shootout to a sixth round, Frederick Roy was denied by Aittokallio to win the game for Lake Erie.
The Amerks and Monsters square off for the second straight night on Saturday, Dec. 21 as the home-and-home series shifts to Quicken Loans Arena for a 7:05 p.m. matchup in downtown Cleveland. Fans can tune in for all the live action on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will be the final tune-up before Rochester takes a two-week hiatus from its regular season schedule to compete in the 2013 Spengler Cup, which is scheduled to run December 26-31 in Davos, Switzerland.