(Cleveland, OH) … The Rochester Americans (27-13-2-4) continued their winning ways Wednesday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, where the Amerks doubled up the Cleveland Monsters (21-22-2-2) in goals and nearly did the same in shots to extend their win streak to a season-long six straight games. The 4-2 victory was also Rochester’s fourth straight on the road and moves the Amerks to within four points of the first place in the AHL’s North Division standings.
Eric Cornel had his hand in three of the four goals for the Amerks, scoring once and adding two assists, including one on the game-winner. The fourth-year forward has now tied his career-high in goals from each of the last two seasons, while hitting the mark this season in 31 fewer games. Pascal Aquin (2+0) logged his first multi-goal game of the season for Rochester, including the game-winner, in his first game back since being recalled from Cincinnati earlier today. Veteran defenseman Nathan Paetsch (1+0) scored his first goal of the season to get the Amerks on the board in the first stanza and Sean Malone (0+2) picked up his second straight multi-point effort with a pair of assists. Andrew Hammond (13-9-2) won his third straight contest, making 23 saves on the 25 shots he faced in net.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Calvin Thurkauf (1+0) got the Monsters on the board early on in the second with his seventh goal of the season, with Jakob Lilja (0+1) getting the lone assist on the marker. Trey Fix-Wolansky would cut the Amerks lead in half with a late third-period goal. Matiss Kivlenieks (9-8-3) received the loss in net, stopping 44 of the 48 shots on goal.
The Amerks jumped out to a 1-0 lead midway through the opening frame when Paestch swatted home his first of the season. As Kivlenieks attempted to send the puck around the boards from behind his own net, his stick snapped and the puck found Randell’s stick. Randell centered a quick pass to Paetsch in the low slot and the veteran defenseman fired it into the empty net before the Cleveland netminder could recover for his first of the season and 100th career point as an Amerk.
Just 2:10 later, Aquin would notch his first of two goals on the night, converting a rebound from the left of the crease to send the Amerks into the first intermission up by a pair. Cornel had the original shot on net, but the puck popped back out on the blocker side where Aquin pulled through and buried the rebound right past Kivlenieks.
In the second stanza, Cleveland would get on the board just 1:02 into the frame with a goal by Thurkauf to cut the Amerks lead in half.
Just minutes later, Aquin again found himself in the perfect position and restored the two-goal lead for Rochester. A step ahead of the Monsters defense on an in-zone breakaway, Aquin pulled the puck one-handed and shot against the grain over the glove of the Cleveland netminder with Will Borgen and Cornel getting the assists to make it a 3-1 game.
The Amerks scoring didn’t stop there as they carried the momentum into the start of the third period with Cornel beating Kivlenieks just 2:07 in to give Rochester its largest lead of the night. Cornel entered the Monsters zone facing a pair of Cleveland defensemen. With no choice but to shoot, Cornel fired from the top of the left circle before splitting the Cleveland defense and gathering his own rebound for his ninth goal of the season.
Cleveland would once again cut the Rochester lead to just 4-2 with 7:42 remaining in the third period on a goal from Fix-Wolansky, but it would be as close as the Monsters would get.
Rochester returns home to The Blue Cross Arena on Friday, Feb. 7 as they face-off again with the Syracuse Crunch at 7:05 p.m. before concluding the weekend north of the border with a 4:00 p.m. matchup against the Toronto Marlies at the Coca-Cola Coliseum. Both North Division matchups will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: N. Paetsch (1), P. Aquin (2, 3 – GWG), E. Cornel (9)
CLE: C. Thurkauf (7), T. Fix-Wolansky (7)
ROC: A. Hammond – 23/25 (W)
CLE: M. Kivlenieks – 44/48 (L)
ROC: PP (0/4) | PK (1/1)
CLE: PP (0/1) | PK (4/4)
1. E. Cornel (ROC)
2. P. Aquin (ROC)
3. T. Fix-Wolansky (CLE)