A three-goal second period helped the Rochester Americans cruise to a 5-1 victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena behind a three-point performance from rookie Marcus Foligno, who recorded two goals and an assist. The win keeps Rochester’s playoff hopes alive heading into the team’s final game of the season Saturday in Lake Erie.
Friday’s regular season home finale was played in front of a season-high 10,018 fans, the largest crowd at an Amerks game since January 12, 2007.
Nick Crawford (1+1), Corey Tropp (0+2) and Derek Whitmore (0+2) each added two points, while Colin Stuart and Evan Rankin also scored a goal apiece. Goaltender David Leggio finished with 30 saves in the win to tie his professional career-high of 27 victories.
Mark Bell scored the lone goal for Syracuse, with the assists going to Riley Holzapfel and Dan Sexton. Netminder Igor Bobkov turned away 32 of 37 shots faced in the losing effort.
Stuart put the Amerks on the board 8:27 into the opening period when he capitalized on a three-on-two rush. Foligno drove down the left boards and fed a cross-ice pass to Stuart, who sent a low snap-shot through Bobkov.
Rochester doubled its lead to 2-0 at the 7:10 mark of the middle frame when Foligno beat Bobkov just inside the left post from the high slot after taking a pass from Maxime Legault.
Rankin extended his point-scoring streak to five games (4+4) with a power-play goal 8:35 into the second period to give the Amerks a 3-0 advantage. After his initial bid from the top of the crease was denied, Rankin stuck with it and eventually poked home his own rebound. Whitmore and Crawford were credited with the assists.
Foligno finished off a pretty pass from Tropp to open up a 4-0 lead for Rochester late in the second. Tropp made his way into the Syracuse zone before sending a pass across the slot right to Foligno, who buried his second of the night. Tropp’s helper on the play extended his point-scoring streak to three games (2+3).
Crawford added a goal with 6:13 to go in the period to give Rochester a 5-0 advantage as he deposited a wrister from the high slot to the top shelf. Bell then spoiled the shutout bid by tallying a goal with just 5:04 remaining to make it a 5-1 game.
The Amerks will bring the 2011-2012 regular season to a close on Saturday as they travel to Quicken Loans Arena for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with the Lake Erie Monsters. The game will be the sixth and final meeting between the two teams this season and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.