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Amerks shut out Pens for seventh straight win

(Wilkes-Barre, PA) The Rochester Americans extended their winning streak to a season-high seven games on Saturday night with a 4-0 shutout victory over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The seven-game winning streak is the longest for Rochester since the 2009-10 season and has improved the teams record to 22-15-3-3.

Luke Adam, Joel Armia and Frederick Roy each registered a goal and an assist in the game for Rochester while Brayden Irwin chipped in two assists. Johan Larsson also scored a goal to extend his point streak to seven games while Drew Bagnall, Rasmus Ristolainen and Kevin Sundher each tallied an assist.

Amerks goaltender Nathan Lieuwen stopped all 26 shots he faced to record his second shutout of the season.  In his last eight games, Lieuwen has gone 5-2-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average, a .959 save percentage and two shutouts while allowing fewer than two goals in six of the eight games.

Penguins netminder Eric Hartzell allowed two goals on five shots before being relieved in the first period by Jeff Deslauriers, who made 15 saves on 17 shots the rest of the game.

It took the Amerks just 1:21 to open the scoring in the first period as Adam scored his team-leading 19th of the season. The line of Adam, Larsson and Irwin kept the Penguins hemmed into their own zone for most of their shift. When the puck made its way to Ristolainen at the blue line, the defenseman took a slap shot that deflected over to Irwin. Irwin then took a shot of his own that was stopped by Hartzell, but Adam was stationed at the top of the crease where he quickly gained control of the puck, pulled it to his forehand and slipped it past the netminder to give the Amerks a 1-0 lead.

Rochester extended its lead to 2-0 at 7:46 of the opening period. Bagnall broke the Amerks out of their own zone with a cross-ice pass to Armia, who then eluded two Penguins defenders with some nifty stick-handling right as he crossed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton blue-line along the right wing boards. He then looked up and sent a perfect feed to Roy, who was breaking to the far post and redirected the pass into the net for his fourth goal of the season.  The Penguins promptly replaced Hartzell in goal with Deslauriers.

Near the end of a back-and-forth second period, the Amerks struck again to make it a 3-0 game. Irwin made a long cross-ice pass to Adam, who carried the puck into the offensive zone along the left wing side and blasted a slap-shot from the top of the face-off circle. Deslauriers made a kick save on Adams attempt, but the rebound bounced right out to Larsson, who was attacking the net with speed and immediately snapped a shot back on goal that beat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton netminder at 18:24 of the middle frame. The goal, his sixth of the season, extended Larssons point streak to seven games, giving him 12 points (3 9) in that span.

Armia added a goal late in the third period when he took a pass from Roy and fired a quick wrist shot past Desluariers from the slot to give the Amerks a 4-0 lead. The goal gave both Armia and Roy their second points of the game.

 
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