Rochester coach Seth Appert (left) chats with defenseman Ethan Prow earlier this season. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu, Rochester Americans

Seth Appert felt his Rochester Amerks would rally to win: ‘He truly believed’

ROCHESTER – As Americans goalie Devon Levi sat in the cramped visiting dressing room in Upstate Medical Arena soaking up Saturday’s unlikely 4-3 overtime victory, he noticed coach Seth Appert in the corner, admiring his team.

“Just so proud of us,” Levi said following Wednesday’s practice in Blue Cross Arena. “We were proud of each other.”

Appert then walked over and addressed his players, telling them, “Well, that’s exactly how we wrote it up.”

“And it’s true,” said Levi, whose Amerks host the Syracuse Crunch tonight in the decisive Game 5 of the AHL North Division semifinal.

During Saturday’s second intermission Appert told his players to take a short break and he would come back and explain how the Amerks would erase a daunting 3-0 deficit and win the game. When he returned, he calmly laid out a plan to stave off elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs.

“A few execution things systematically, and then a few things just in terms of giving them something to shoot for,” Appert told reporters Saturday.

Appert said if the Amerks scored in the first six or seven minutes of the third period, it would plant a seed of doubt in their opponent’s mind. Another goal seven or eight minutes later would give them a chance to tie it late.

Of course, they also had to hold the Crunch at three goals.

To his players, it wasn’t coach-speak; Appert meant what he said, and his words resonated.

“It was the way that he said it,” said Amerks winger Brett Murray, who scored 11:46 into overtime in his return from an upper-body injury. “You could tell that he truly believed that what his plan and what he thought was going to happen.

“When you have a coach that believes in his team, in us as much as he it seemed he did in that moment, it gives you a little bit of a spark, it gives you a little bit of energy, a little bit of life.”

The Amerks quickly found life when center Brandon Biro scored 19 seconds into the third period, just their second goal in their last eight periods against the Crunch.

“He had that 100 percent confidence he instilled in us that we could go out there,” said Levi, the Buffalo Sabres’ top goaltending prospect. “We got a goal in the first minute of the (period) and we had some life.”

When defenseman Joseph Cecconi, who helped create Biro’s goal, pinched in and scored at the net at 10:20, the Amerks seized the momentum.

Biro scored again at the net at 14:48, tying the game.

“He almost called it verbatim as what happened on the ice,” said Murray, who potted a rebound at the net in overtime to tie the series at 2.

Murray, the Amerks’ longest-tenured player at five seasons, said he had never experienced that in his career.

“Not to that extent,” he said. “It was almost to the minute that he had everything down. It was like it was scripted. It was extremely cool.”

The Amerks carried the spark of energy Appert gave them during the second intermission a long way.

“We come back out on the ice and executed the game plan that he kind of predicted during the intermission,” Murray said. “But he was able to not only lift the spirits and bring us back to life, but it was a spark and a little bit of drive to fight. It was fun to be a part of.”

To Appert, a thrilling comeback win like Saturday’s illustrates the bond his team, which has won two rounds in each of the last two postseasons, has formed over the years.

“I think that what this group has earned from each other – this particular group this year, but then some of our guys that have carried over the last couple of years – is that adversity doesn’t break us and that we’re going to be there for each other,” he said Wednesday. “We’re a resilient group. We’re not going to give up on each other.

“And we’ve had our backs against the wall and we’ve responded, and we’ve been in elimination games and responded. And what happens then is you just get to gain a shared belief in each other that’s earned through backing up each other during hard times.”

One thought on “Seth Appert felt his Rochester Amerks would rally to win: ‘He truly believed’”

  1. I like this coach and you can tell his team do too…. just reading this article one cannot help but see how close Coach Appert is to, and in tune with the team so much that he could give them that scenario at the end of the second period and they believed just like he did…they COULD DO IT!!! they could pull it off. !! It was so exciting listening to Don Steven’s calling it , I just wanted to be there right with.our crowd of fans cheering them on so badly!!
    I was jumping up and down all by myself when they got that overtime goal!!
    This AMERK TEAM has a really closeness among them that we haven’t seen in awhile..and it is so exciting!!! Going to be listening tmrw nite and hope to hear as much as possible of it…but will be pulling for our boys to get the chance to move on…it reminds me so much of our team back in ’83 when we won it all from Sherbrooke on their ice!!
    Go Amerks!! You certainly deserve the win. And I’m thinking this wonderful team has got that invisible thing in them all to do it!! And Don, it wouldn’t be the same without you calling it!! Enjoy the game tonite..think its going to be really special!! and call us a winner!! Go AMERKS!!

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