|CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME|
|DANIEL MUZITO-BAGENDA POST-GAME|
|JUSTIN DANFORTH POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (29-15-9-6) closed out the first weekend of March with a 4-2 win over the Laval Rocket (22-28-6-2) at The Blue Cross Arena Sunday afternoon. The victory gives the Amerks back-to-back wins since the first weekend in January. Rochester has also won three of its last four.
With the win, the Amerks, who have earned at least one point in 18 of their last 24 games since Jan. 1, have a 21-point lead on the fifth-place Rocket in the AHL’s North Division standings following today’s contest.
Rookie Justin Danforth recorded his first-career AHL multi-point effort with a goal and assist while Daniel Muzito-Bagenda registered his first two-point outing of the campaign. Zach Redmond and Kevin Porter rounded out scoring for Rochester, which has taken five of the last six points. Goaltender Adam Wilcox made 21 saves to record back-to-back wins in his last two outings while improving to 10-4-6 in 22 appearances on the season.
Willie Corrin netted first-career AHL goal while Adam Cracknell plotted his 22nd of the campaign for the Rocket, who has dropped two of the last three games. First-year netminder Michael McNiven took the loss as he stopped 25 of 28.
With the game tied at 2-2 and less than five minutes remaining in the second period, Nathan Paetsch sprung Danforth all alone on McNiven with a quick outlet-pass through the neutral zone. Once the rookie caught up to the puck, he slipped a shot through the five-hole of the Laval netminder to give the Amerks a 3-2 lead with 4:45 showing on the clock.
Paetsch was awarded the primary helper while Muzito-Bagenda was credited with the secondary assist, giving him his first two-point (1+1) performance of the season.
Rochester held the Rocket without a shot for the first half the third period and protected its one-goal lead before Laval tried to find the equalizer late in regulation. Wilcox, however, held the Rocket off board before Kevin Porter sealed the 4-2 win as he added an empty-netter with 16 seconds left in the contest.
The goal was Porter’s 15th marker of the slate. Sean Malone recorded the lone assist on the play, giving the rookie forward five points (3+2) over his last six outings.
Laval opened the scoring with a power-play goal before Redmond knotted the game at 1-1 with his 12th of the season, also on the man-advantage.
Alexander Nylander and Matt Tennyson each were given the assists, with Nylander extending his current point streak (1+4) to a career-long to five games.
Less than a minute later, Muzito-Bagenda tapped in his first of the goal of the season from Danforth and Dalton Smith, but the Rocket tied the game at 2-2 just before the end of the first period.
Danforth, though, gave the Amerks the lead for good as he scored his first of the season at the 15:15 mark of the second before Porter sealed the 4-2 win with his empty-netter late in the final period.
The Amerks embark on another busy stretch of three games in three nights on Friday, Mar. 9 when they host the Providence Bruins for the only time this season at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. contest will be the first of just two meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Redmond (12), Muzito-Bagenda (1), Danforth (1), Porter (15)
LAV: Cracknell (22), Corrin (1)
RCH: Wilcox – 21/23 (W)
LAV: McNiven – 25/28 (L)
RCH: PP (1/4) | PK (2/3)
LAV: PP (1/3) | PK (3/4)