Zack Kassian scored his third goal in as many games and Drew MacIntyre made a season-high 43 saves to help the Rochester Americans to a 2-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins tonight at The Blue Cross Arena. The victory was Rochester’s third straight and also marked the fourth in five games for the Amerks, who improve to 7-5-2-1 (17 points) and keeps them atop the AHL’s North Division.
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MacIntyre made back-to-back starts for the time first time this season after sharing the crease with counterpart David Leggio through the first 14 games of the campaign.
“MacIntyre played real well for us last night, and tonight he went back in there and showed us why he is the goalie that he is,” said Amerks Head Coach Ron Rolston.
“They were putting everything on net,” MacIntyre said after his second win in as many nights. “We knew that was going to be their game plan. I’ve played against them a lot over my career and that has been their kind of thing, shoot and drive, shoot and drive.”
The offense was spurred by the play of Amerks captain Colin Stuart and the red hot Kassian. The captain certainly led by example as he recorded a goal and an assist on both of the Amerks scoring plays. Kassian continued his hot streak as he now has three goals and five points in the last three contests.
Kassian spotted the Amerks to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period with his team-leading seventh goal of the season. The play developed from the hard work of Stuart as he raced over the blueline, took a shot, and neatly kicked the rebound over to an unguarded Kassian, who buried it into the empty net.
The Griffins tied the game with five minutes to go in the first after Brian Lashoff’s individual dash from center ice made it a 1-1 game at 14:51 of the opening frame. Lashoff tallied his first goal of the season when he slid the puck through MacIntyre’s five-hole.
With less than two minutes remaining in the second period, the Amerks regained the lead as Stuart one-timed a feed from Joe Finley. The goal was Stuart’s fifth goal of the season and the assist was Finley’s first point as an Amerk.
The Amerks displayed a sense of toughness in the third period as they held on to the slim lead for a victory. Rochester denied any hopes of a Griffins comeback with a gritty effort in the defensive zone for the final 20 minutes.
“The guys blocked a lot of shots and were willing to sacrifice their bodies all night,” said MacIntyre. “We played a lot better than it appears on the game sheet.”
The Amerks remain at home on Wednesday, November 16 as the Syracuse Crunch make their way to The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the fourth of 10 scheduled meetings this season between the longtime intrastate rivals and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.