David Leggio turned away 27 shots to earn his second shutout of the season and lead the Rochester Americans to a 2-0 win over the Adirondack Phantoms on Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena. The victory, in front of 6,365 fans, was the second straight for the Amerks, who got goals from Derek Whitmore and Dennis Persson.
“Getting two points is huge for us right now and it’s going to be huge all the way down the stretch here,” said Leggio, who picked up his 17th win of the season. “We came and played the game we wanted to play and got the win.”
Whitmore scored for the third straight game and Persson lit the lamp for the second consecutive outing while Luke Adam added a pair of assists for Rochester. Evan Rankin, meanwhile, returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 27.
“Going into the stretch it is going to be huge to have strong goaltending,” said Head Coach Ron Rolston when asked about Leggio’s effort. “He was really confident tonight and when he didn’t see things he put himself in spots where the puck would hit him.”
Former Amerk and AHL All-Star goaltender Michael Leighton got the start for Adirondack and finished with 31 saves on 33 shots.
The Amerks built a 1-0 lead at the 11-minute mark of the opening period when Whitmore buried his team-leading 23rd goal of the season. Off the rush, Adam found Whitmore streaking through the slot and Whitmore was able to redirect the puck between the legs of Leighton. The tally also represented Whitmore’s fifth goal in as many games. Joe Finley also picked up an assist on the goal.
Persson then put the Amerks ahead 2-0 at 1:11 of the second period with the Amerks on the power-play. The rebound of an Adam slapper from the top of the right circle caromed to Persson, who quickly deposited the puck into the vacant side of the net. Adam collected his second assist of the game while Travis Turnbull was also credited with a helper.
Leggio and the Rochester defense continued its superb play over the final 39 minutes, keeping the Phantoms’ offensive attack in check to preserve the 2-0 shutout.
The Amerks will bring the month of February to a close on Saturday when the Lake Erie Monsters return to the Flower City for the second time in as many weeks. The 7:35 p.m. contest will also mark the third encounter in nine days for the North Division rivals, who split two games last weekend. Rochester has claimed three of the first four meetings with Lake Erie this season and has outscored the Monsters 16-11. Fans can tune in for all the live action on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.