The Rochester Americans hit a couple of milestones and added another piece of hardware with a 4-3 shootout victory in St. John’s on Monday night.
Ryan Miller made 27 saves, then stopped three of five shootout attempts, to earn the win in net for the Amerks. It was Miller’s 40th victory of the season, making him the AHL’s first 40-game winner since Gerry Cheevers in 1964-65.
It was also Rochester’s 50th win of the season, the first time that mark has been reached in the AHL since 1998-99, when Providence won 56 games and the Amerks themselves won 52.
Finally, the win guaranteed Rochester the best regular-season record in the Western Conference and the Bud Poile Trophy that goes with that honor. The Amerks will have home-ice advantage through at least the first three rounds of the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Rookie Thomas Vanek scored two power-play goals for the Americans, and Geoff Peters netted the tying goal with 10:49 remaining in regulation. Paul Gaustad‘s goal in the fifth shootout round was the final difference.
Mikael Tellqvist finished with 45 saves for the Maple Leafs, including 15 in the third period and seven in overtime. Matt Stajan led the St. John’s offense with a goal and an assist, as the Leafs scored three times with the man advantage.
The Leafs are now tied with Manitoba for second place in the North Division.
St. John’s hosts Rochester again on Wednesday night.