ALBANY, N.Y. (December 3, 2004). A good defensive effort by the Albany River Rats, as well as solid goal-tending by Ari Ahonen, went for naught tonight as a lack of scoring led to a 1-0 shut-out at the hands of the Syracuse Crunch.
It was the second blanking of the Rats on home ice in a row, with a scoring drought that has reached 154 minutes and 43 seconds (since the middle of the second period last Saturday night).
It resulted in the ninth consecutive home defeat for the Albany River Rats.
The Crunch had picked up a lead on a face-off win by Steven Goertzen against Ivan Khomutov. When defenseman Ray Schultz was unable to contain either Raffaele Sannitz (driving hard to the net) or the puck coming off the stick of Matthias Trattnig, Ahonen was left with no help as he tried to slide right to left. That proved to be the game-winning goal.
The best gauge of the bad luck or futility came on a five-minute major power play awarded mid-way through the first period, a minute after the Crunch scored their one and only goal. It should have been a golden opportunity to either tie the game or take the lead. Instead, the Rats only mustered three shots during the five minute power play. Twice during the lengthy man advantage, River Rats literally fell down (away from defenders), losing an edge. Aleksander Suglubov took a spill at 14:43. Aaron Voros found himself sitting on the ice at 18:10. Both times, those forwards were open, in a position to take a pass and maybe get a decent shot on goal. Both times, they found themselves fallen on the ice.
The second period saw solid effort by the Rats, with Zach Parise's hard work on a penalty kill forcing Mike Pandolfo to hook him down as he was going in short-handed on Karl Goehring. Late in the period, Cam Janssen of the Rats dinged one off the post.
Overtime, and the opportunity for at least a point, seemed within reach, when Francois Beauchmin cross-checked a River Rat with a minute remaining. Even a time-out and pulling the goalie did not help Albany. Zach Parise had an excellent chance late in the game, but Goehring robbed him. The game ended as Dean McAmmond was teeing one up at the buzzer.
The three stars: third, with 21 saves on 22 shots, to Albany goaltender, Ari Ahonen; second, with the game-winning goal, to Raffaele Sannitz of Syracuse; and, first, to Crunch netminder, Karl Goehring, with 26 saves on as many Albany shots.
It was Goehring's third consecutive win against the River Rats over a two-week period.
For the Rats, the scoring drought, now almost three games in length, has come at a time when they are playing better defensively. Matt DeMarchi returned to the lineup tonight, after missing a number of games with an injury.