The Rochester Americans just won their second Calder Cup Playoff series, and winger Jack Quinn, the AHL’s top rookie, hasn’t scored a goal.
Injuries have sidelined goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson, two of the Buffalo Sabres’ other top prospects, the entire postseason.
On Thursday, the Amerks, who eked into the playoffs, defeated the top-seeded Utica Comets 4-2 and clinched the North Division semifinal without their injured captain, Michael Mersch, a 26-goal scorer.
In winning two rounds for the first time since 2004, some of the Amerks’ top talents picked up the slack, performing dynamically.
Winger Arttu Ruotsalainen’s eight goals and 11 points both lead the Calder Cup Playoffs. Center Peyton Krebs’ nine assists rank first. Rookie winger JJ Peterka has compiled four goals, including a hat trick, and nine points.
Krebs and Peterka are tied for third in playoff scoring.
But in the aftermath of the Thursday’s emotional come-from-behind win, the Amerks’ most significant victory in 18 years, coach Seth Appert took time to single out two depth players he added to the lineup for Game 5: Nick Boka and Ben Holmstrom.
Appert lauded Boka and Holmstrom, both of whom sat out the first six postseason games, for their contributions. Boka, a defenseman, skated as a forward and drew the penalty that led to Ruotsalainen’s game-tying goal early in the third period. Holmstrom, meanwhile, won some critical faceoffs down the stretch.
“That just shows what our team’s about,”…