Four different goal-scorers found the back of the net and rookie forward Colin Jacobs recorded his first professional multi-point game as the Rochester Americans outlasted a late-game comeback by the Adirondack Phantoms and earned a 5-4 shootout win over their intrastate rivals Saturday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
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With the win, Rochester improves to 38-27-3-1, including 8-1 in shootouts this season, and moves the Amerks back into a fifth-place tie with Houston in the Western Conference standings with just seven games remaining in the 2012-13 regular season.
Patrick Rissmiller, Frederick Roy, Drew Schiestel and Mark Mancari each scored in regulation for the Amerks while Mancari and Jacobs also converted in the shootout. David Leggio made 39 saves through 65 minutes before denying four of five Adirondack shooters in the skills competition on his way to claiming his AHL-leading 36th win of the season.
Jon Sim led the hometown Phantoms with a three-point night, netting two goals and assisting on another, while scoring Adirondack’s lone goal in the shootout. Marcel Noebels and Garrett Roe rounded out the scoring for the Phantoms as Brian Boucher and Cal Heeter combined for 20 saves in the loss.
The first period saw the teams trade power-play goals, with the Amerks opening the scoring with a marker from Rissmiller at 7:11 to take a 1-0 lead. After back-to-back penalties to Adirondack’s Cullen Eddy and Andreas Lilja seven seconds apart gave Rochester a two-man advantage, the Amerks capitalized just 10 seconds later as Rissmiller delivered a blast from the high slot past a screened Boucher for the unassisted tally. The goal, Rissmiller’s third of the season, would mark Rochester’s first on the power-play since March 24, snapping a streak of four games without a goal on the man-advantage.
The Phantoms tied the game with a power-play goal of their own, taking advantage of a Nick Crawford penalty at the 12:35 mark. Jason Akeson, Adirondack’s leading scorer, moved in from the right circle and threw a shot on goal that was tipped inside the left post by an unmarked Sim to knot the contest at 1-1. Eric Wellwood also earned an assist on Sim’s 11th of the season.
Roy put Rochester back on top midway through the second period, redirecting Crawford’s bid from the right point under the crossbar to make it a 2-1 game. Crawford side-stepped an attacking Phantoms player and put a low wrister along the ice toward the goal-mouth. Roy, skating through the low slot, slipped by his defender and deflected the puck over the sprawled Boucher, who went down to make the initial save on Crawford’s bid. Jacobs would also pick up his first of two assists on the night while helping Roy snap a 20-game scoreless streak.
The Amerks extended their lead to 3-1 under three minutes later with Schiestel’s first of the season at 11:26. Jacobs jumped on a loose puck outside the Rochester blueline and raced up the ice along the left wing boards with an open lane to the net. Upon gaining the offensive zone, Jacobs instead made a smooth drop pass to a trailing Schiestel, who moved in to the left circle and sniped the upper right corner to put the Amerks ahead by a pair and chase Boucher to the bench.
Rochester’s two-goal cushion wouldn’t last long, however, as Adirondack answered just 57 seconds later with Sim setting up Noebels for his 12th of the season. Sim carried the puck into the Amerks zone, and after making a dash across the high slot, left it for Noebels just inside the blueline. With the Amerks defensemen still trying to isolate Sim, Noebels had a clear a path to the net, going top shelf short-side to bring the Phantoms to within one heading into the second intermission.
The fast-paced third period began in similar fashion to that of the second with the teams again exchanging goals in the first 1:31 of the frame. Mancari’s team-leading 21st goal of the season just 34 seconds in gave the Amerks a 4-2 advantage, but the Phantoms again responded 57 seconds later with Sim’s second goal of the game and third point of the night to make it a 4-3 score.
For the second time in as many periods, Adirondack would erase another two-goal deficit as Roe deflected Blake Kessel’s shot from the right point past Leggio to even the game at 4-4 and force overtime.
After a scoreless extra session, the game would go to a shootout, where Mancari and Sim each scored in the third round before Jacobs converted in the fourth to send the Amerks past the Phantoms with a 5-4 win.
The Amerks bring the weekend to a close on Sunday, April 7 as they make their first trip of the season to the Capital District to take on the Albany Devils at the Times Union Center. The 4:00 p.m. contest will be the third of four meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.