Multiple-point efforts from four different skaters drove the Rochester Americans to a 6-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters in front of a crowd of 6,105 at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday night. The win pushes Rochester one point above the Monsters in the standings and propels them back into second place in the AHL’s North Division as the same two teams prepare to face off again Saturday night in Cleveland.
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“Our challenge is not being satisfied with tonight’s effort,” said Head Coach Ron Rolston following the victory. “Even though we were down in the first, I thought we had a good period and we had a good bounce-back in the second. I think as we get guys back in the lineup and give them some time to get acclimated, we are going to keep growing.”
Phil Varone led the way for Rochester with a three-assist performance, with TJ Brennan (1+1), Derek Whitmore (2+0), and Luke Adam (0+2) each chipping in two. Marcus Foligno, Maxime Legault and Brayden McNabb also found the back of the net for Rochester while David Leggio turned away 20 of 22 shots between the pipes.
Lake Erie received goals from former Amerk Patrick Rissmiller and Stefan Elliot, while netminders Gerald Coleman and James Reid combined to finish with 32 saves on the night.
The Monsters struck first with the man advantage at 17:59 of the opening period to take a 1-0 lead when Rissmiller rifled a one-timed slapper from the top of the right-circle off the crossbar and in.
Rochester responded in the second period, scoring three times in the first 5:28 of the frame to open up a two-goal cushion. First, the Amerks converted on the power-play at 2:43, as Foligno netted his 13th of the season. Off the rush, Varone fed Foligno with a perfect cross-ice pass from the left half-boards to the right face-off circle and Foligno released a quick snapper past Coleman.
Whitmore quickly followed up with another power-play goal less than two minutes later for a 2-1 advantage, jamming home his own rebound at the right side of the net after his initial stuff attempt was denied. With an assist on the play, Adam notched his first point for the Amerks this season in his second game since joining the club.
Brennan then capped-off the three-goal run for Rochester at 5:28 with his ninth of the year. Corey Tropp found the blueliner cruising through the slot and Brennan eluded a Lake Erie defender before squeaking a backhander through Coleman.
The Monsters responded to cut their deficit to 3-2 at the midway point of the frame as a point shot from Elliot made its way through a maze of bodies in front and past Leggio.
Whitmore cashed in his second of the night and 20th of the season at 7:34 of the third period, converting his own rebound after his initial bid from the slot rang off the iron. By reaching the 20-goal mark Whitmore continues Rochester’s 56-year streak of at least one player hitting the plateau. It is also the second straight season Whitmore has reached 20 goals after scoring a career-high 27 last year with Portland.
Legault opened up a 5-2 lead for the Amerks with a goal with under five minutes remaining in the contest, picking the top corner off the rush with a wrister from the slot for his sixth of the season. McNabb the added a late goal for Rochester with the man advantage to secure the 6-2 victory.
The Amerks and Monsters meet again for the second time in as many nights on Saturday as the home-and-home series shifts between the North Division rivals shifts to Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. The 7:30 p.m. matchup can be heard live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester Sports Talk.