A pair of first period power-play goals and a stellar performance by goaltender Drew MacIntyre propelled the Rochester Americans to a 4-1 victory over the North Division rival Lake Erie Monsters on Wednesday night. The win, which was Rochester’s second straight, came in front of a crowd of 4,390 at The Blue Cross Arena and improved the team’s record to 13-12-4-1. The Amerks are also now 8-2-0-0 through their last 10 home games.
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“I give a lot of credit to our guys coming back from Texas and being able to bounce back at home and put the effort there,” said Head Coach Ron Rolston. “I think they did that tonight so we were very happy with that.”
MacIntyre turned away 33 of 34 shots by the Monsters to earn first star honors while the Amerks were led offensively by Evan Rankin (1+1), Marcus Foligno (1+1), and Travis Turnbull (0+2), each of whom contributed two points apiece. Mark Voakes and Dennis Persson also scored in the winning effort. With an assist on the Amerks’ second tally, defenseman T.J. Brennan extended his point streak to five games (2+4) and has tallied nine points over his past eight contests (4+5).
“We are pretty good at home, so we want to keep going with that,” said Foligno, who made his NHL debut Tuesday night for the Sabres in Ottawa and returned to play his fifth game in the last six nights. “Lake Erie is a big, strong team and we are very happy with the win.”
Former Amerk Hugh Jessiman notched the lone Lake Erie goal in the loss, while netminder Cedrick Desjardins finished with 14 saves between the pipes.
Rochester jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two consecutive power-play goals less than 90 seconds apart in the latter half of the opening frame. First, Voakes tapped home a rebound at the top of the crease after Turnbull drove wide down the right side around the Lake Erie defense and had his initial bid stopped. Then, Persson followed-up with his first of the season, letting a slapper go from the high slot that found its way through a maze of bodies and eluded Desjardins.
After over 34 minutes of scoreless play, Jessiman got Lake Erie on the board at 11:52 of the third period to make the score 2-1. With the Monsters on the power-play, the seventh-year forward cut across the offensive blue line and beat MacIntyre with a wrister from the top of the right circle.
Rochester responded quickly to restore its two-goal cushion just over two minutes later, as Rankin netted his seventh goal in just his 12th appearance in an Amerks uniform this season. After being denied by Desjardins from the right circle on a two-on-one rush, the 25 year-old grabbed the loose rebound and shoveled it behind the Lake Erie goaltender from below the goal-line to give the Amerks a 3-1 lead.
Foligno added an empty-net goal with 23 seconds remaining to secure the win.
The Amerks get right back to work after a brief holiday break as they visit the Oklahoma City Barons on Tuesday, December 27 in the first of back-to-back tilts at the Cox Convention Center. The 8 p.m. EST matchup will also mark the first-ever meeting between the teams and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.