(Laval, Quebec) … The Rochester Americans (19-6-3-3) completed their weekend sweep of the Laval Rocket (11-14-5-2) with a 3-1 victory Saturday at Place Bell in the final game before the Christmas break.
Back-to-back wins over the Montreal Canadiens’ affiliate have elevated the Amerks to a tie with the Toronto Marlies for first place in both the American Hockey League’s North Division standings and the Eastern Conference. Rochester has notched points in 20 of its last 22 games and 36 points overall since Nov. 1, while improving to 11-1-3-2 while on the road this season. The Amerks remain the only AHL team with just one regulation loss away from The Blue Cross Arena this season.
Rochester captain Kevin Porter recorded his fifth multi-point night of the season with a goal and an assist, while Stuart Percy and Garret Ross rounded out scoring with their fourth and fifth goals of the season, respectively. Amerks goaltender Adam Wilcox stopped 33 of 34 shots sent his way to pick up his third straight win and fourth in his last five starts for Rochester, which enters the holiday break having won four straight.
Leading point-getter Chris Terry notched Laval’s lone goal, his team-leading 16th of the season, with help from Adam Cracknell and Nikita Scherbak. Rookie goaltender Michael McNiven took the loss for the Rocket, making 26 saves.
A quiet first period heated up with 20 seconds remaining, when forward Seth Griffith brought the puck up from behind Laval’s net back to the blueline. From there, he sent a nifty cross-ice pass to Ross through the slot off the right wing side. Ross hammered a one-timer that landed just inside the post, putting Rochester on the board first. Porter would also earn an assist on the play.
Just past the halfway point of the sandwich stanza, a scramble in front of the Amerks net saw the puck get pushed to the corner. From a sharp angle, Terry turned with the puck and fired it off Wilcox’s right shoulder and into the back of the net to make it a 1-1 game.
The score remained knotted until the 11:10 mark of the third, when Percy lobbed a seemingly innocent shot from the left point that made its way through traffic and past an unsuspecting McNiven.
Just over three minutes later, an interference penalty to Griffith gave Laval the man-advantage, only to benefit Rochester. The shorthanded Amerks were able to free the puck from within their own end, allowing Porter to streak down the ice alongside Nick Baptiste, creating a two-on-one. Porter elected to shoot, finding the upper corner for sixth goal of the season that would seal the 3-1 for the Amerks, who improved to 4-0-0-0 in the season series against Laval.
The Amerks return home to The Blue Cross Arena following the Christmas break on Wednesday, Dec. 27 when they take on the Rocket for the third straight game at 7:05 p.m. All the action can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
Tickets for all remaining 2017-18 Amerks home games are available here.
RCH: Ross (5), Percy (4), Porter (6)
LAV: Terry (16)
RCH: Wilcox – 33/34 (W)
LAV: McNiven – 26/29 (L)
RCH: PP (0/1) | PK (3/3)
LAV: PP (0/3) | PK (1/1)