T.J. Brennan recorded his first multi-point game of the season and David Leggio steered aside 22 of 24 shots as the Rochester Americans earned their fourth straight win, defeating the Syracuse Crunch 3-2 tonight at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks power-play struck for two goals, including Marcus Foligno’s game-winnner late in the final frame, and the Amerks outshot the Crunch 44-24 in the contest. With the win, the Amerks are now two points clear of the Toronto Marlies for first place in the American Hockey League’s North Division.
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“I like the energy we brought tonight,” said Amerks Head Coach Ron Rolston after his team won its fourth straight home game. “We’ve done a better job cleaning up our defensive zone and that has led to offense for us.”
Rochester outshot the Crunch 14-3 in the first period, but was not able to capitalize on its opportunities as the two teams entered the first intermission in a scoreless deadlock.
The Amerks fell behind 1-0 early in the second period after John Mitchell beat Leggio at 3:10 for his second goal of the season. Bryan Rodney pinched in from his position at the point, avoided a charging Maxime Legault, and sent a pass cross-ice to Mitchell, who one-timed the puck past the Amerks netminder.
The Amerks responded quickly and tied the hockey game just two minutes later when Brennan rifled a shot from just inside the blueline. The slapper found the top right corner of the net, beating Crunch goaltender Iiro Tarkki high stick-side for his second goal of the season 5:30 into the second stanza.
Just 30 seconds into the third period, Stuart lit the lamp for the sixth time this season, giving the Amerks a 2-1 lead. After receiving a pass from Zack Kassian, Brennan burst through the middle of the ice and slid a pass over to Stuart, who buried the puck past Tarkki for the lead.
The Crunch pulled even when Peter Holland scored his third goal of the season at 3:39. Matheiu Carle moved in from the point and slid a backhanded pass to Holland, who wasted no time blasting the puck into the back of the net to even the count at two goals apiece.
Late in the third period, Folingo banged home a pass from Mark Voakes to give the Amerks the lead once again. Nick Crawford fired a shot from the point, which was recovered by Voakes. Voakes was able to draw Tarkki out of position and slide a pass right in front of the net, where Folingo potted his sixth of the season, and eventual game-winner.
“I like the competitive nature of our guys and their focus,” said Rolston. “That’s how we had to play tonight, especially against Syracuse.”
The Amerks close out their season-long five-game homestand on Friday, November 18 as they host the Toronto Marlies in the first of back-to-back tilts between the North Division rivals. The home-and-home series will then shift across the border for a 3:00 p.m. matinee at Ricoh Coliseum. Both contests will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.