The Rochester Americans scored three times in the third period to break a tie game and cruise to a 5-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch at War Memorial at Oncenter on Saturday night. Five different players scored for Rochester in the win, with Marcus Foligno’s three-point night leading the way.
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The line of Foligno (1+2), Evan Rankin (1+1) and Brian Flynn (1+1) combined for seven points on the night while Nick Tarnasky and T.J. Brennan also scored for the Amerks. Goaltender David Leggio stopped 24 of 26 shots to earn the win in net as the Amerks snapped a brief two-game losing streak and defeated the Crunch for the second time this season.
Richard Panik and Cory Conacher each scored for Syracuse, while goaltender Riku Helenius stopped 18 of 23 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Tarnasky put the Amerks ahead with his third goal of the season just 5:28 into the second stanza. Maxime Legault, who emerged with possession of the puck following a scramble along the left half-wall, circled to the high slot and unleashed a quick shot to the net-front, where Tarnasky was left unattended to deflect it past Helenius for the go-ahead goal. Former Crunch Rick Schofield would also earn an assist on the play to make it a 1-0 game.
The lead would not last long, though, as the Crunch responded less than four minutes later with a power-play goal from Panik. Alex Killorn made a nice play at the blueline to keep the puck in the Amerks’ zone with a pass to Devos in the low right corner. Devos would then elude a defender and feed a centering pass to Panik, who one-touched it to the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season at 9:17 to knot the contest up at one apiece.
The Amerks regained the lead at 12:16 of the second period as Rankin redirected Alex Biega’s shot from the top of the right circle to put Rochester back on top, 2-1. Foligno corralled a loose puck behind the Syracuse net and found Biega open at the right point. Biega, in an effort to avoid pressure from an attacking Crunch player, sent a low shot along the ice and Rankin, who darted out from the right corner, was able to get his stick on it for his fourth goal of the season. With the goal, Rankin has now collected points in eight of his last nine games.
Syracuse rallied again in the early stages of the third period as Conacher batted Ondrej Palat’s rebound out of mid-air to even the game up at 2-2. Leggio made the initial save on Palat’s shot from the point, but the rebound would bounce straight up, allowing the reigning AHL MVP and Rookie of the Year to knock it into the open net for his team-leading seventh tally of the season.
Rochester then responded with three unanswered goals to take the lead and ultimately secure the victory. First, Foligno converted on Rankin’s centering pass from the corner to give the Amerks a 3-2 advantage at 6:12. Just over three minutes later, Brennan picked the top right corner of the net with a wrist shot from the left circle at 9:38 to put the visitors up by a pair. Flynn then rounded out the scoring with less than two minutes to play when he knocked Foligno’s rebound into the Crunch net, giving the Amerks a 5-2 lead.
The Amerks travel north of the border on Wednesday, Nov. 14 to face the North Division rival Hamilton Bulldogs for the third time in as many weeks. The special school day game is slated for a 10 a.m. start at Copps Coliseum.