A four-point night by Mark Arcobello helped propel the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Barons to a 5-2 victory over the Rochester Americans at The Blue Cross Arena on Thursday.
“They are a good offensive team with a lot of good forwards,” said Head Coach Ron Rolston. “We needed to be better in a lot of areas, especially our own zone, whether it was clearing out the front (of the net) or just taking care of the puck.”
Arcobello, a second-year forward, scored two consecutive goals, one late in the first period and one early in the second, while also chipping-in a pair of assists. Hunter Tremblay and Teemu Hartikainen also contributed a goal and an assist each for the Barons, while goaltender Yann Danis had 20 saves to pick up his 16th win.
Paul Szczechura and Travis Turnbull each scored for Rochester in the game, with assists being credited to Zack Kassian, Jacob Lagace, and Nick Crawford. David Leggio turned away 29 of 34 Oklahoma City shots between the pipes as 3,548 fans were in attendance.
“(Tomorrow) we have to stick to our game, use our speed, and play in their zone a lot more,” said defenseman Alex Biega, who logged nearly 30 minutes of ice time.
The Amerks got on the board first at 7:53 of the opening period, as Szczechura found the back of the net for the fifth time this season. After Kassian deflected a centering feed from Lagace off the right pad of Danis, Szczechura was there to clean-up the rebound at the top of the crease.
Oklahoma City was quick to respond just over two minutes later to even the score at one apiece. Arcobello found linemate Tremblay all alone in the slot, who swiftly tucked a backhand through the five-hole of the Amerks’ netminder. The Barons tallied their second straight goal to take a 2-1 lead in the final 90 seconds of the first. Arcobello’s one-timed blast from the point found its way through traffic in front and eluded a screened Leggio.
Oklahoma City opened up a three-goal cushion with a pair of goals in the opening six minutes of the middle frame to make the score 4-1. At 2:38, Arcobello lit the lamp with the man advantage for the second straight time when he found a loose puck during a scramble in front and jammed it just inside the left post by. Cornet then followed up with his 18th of the season at 5:30, as he pounced on his own rebound in the slot and slid it underneath Leggio.
After the Barons upped their lead to four goals at 18:41 courtesy of a goal by Hartikainen, the Amerks made it 5-2 just 11 seconds later as Turnbull converted a breakaway chance for his fifth goal of the season.
Oklahoma City continued to apply pressure in the Rochester zone throughout the final 20 minutes, outshooting the Amerks 10-4 in a scoreless frame to preserve the win.
Rochester and Oklahoma City will square off for the second time in as many nights on Friday at The Blue Cross Arena as the two teams bring their season series to a close. Game time is slated for a 7:35 p.m. start and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk. The game will also be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26.