Courtesy of Amerks.com
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Rochester Americans (23-8-4-3) pushed their point streak to four games as they exploded for four third-period goals on their way to a 5-2 victory over the North Division rival Binghamton Devils (11-20-4-2) Friday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the win, the Amerks have earned points in 26 of their last 29 games and have collected 45 points dating back to Nov. 1. Additionally, the win extends Rochester’s home win streak to three straight games.
Seth Griffith led the Amerks offense as he tallied a three-point (1+2) night, his second in the last three games, and shows seven points (2+5) over his last four home games. Kyle Criscuolo and C.J. Smith each finished with a goal and an assist while Nick Baptiste and Kevin Porter completed the scoring for Rochester. Goaltender Adam Wilcox, who made back-to-back starts for the first time all season, stopped 18 of 20 shots he faced to improve to 6-3-4 on the season. The 25-year-old netminder also recorded his first point as an Amerk with an assist on Baptiste’s game-winning goal.
Kevin Rooney bagged his fourth two-point (1+1) night for the Devils as Nick Lappin recorded his team-leading 14th goal of the season. Ken Appleby earned the start in the blue paint and made 27 saves for the second straight outing, but took the loss.
The Devils made it a one-goal game at the 11:49 mark of third period before the Amerks responded less than four minutes later to up their lead to 4-2.
Appearing in his first game since suffering an injury on Oct. 13, veteran defenseman Nathan Paetsch fired a shot from the left point towards Appleby. The rebound then found its way to Criscuolo between the face-off circles and the second-year pro banged in his ninth marker of the slate with 5:27 left in the contest to give Rochester its two-goal lead.
“It felt awesome to be back on the ice with the guys,” said Paetsch, who missed 34 games in total due to a lower-body injury. “After such a long recovery, it was good to be a part of the game again. Sitting out for that long makes you appreciate the game that much more after a long layoff.”
Less than two minutes later, Griffith tracked down an outlet pass from Sean Malone and raced in all alone on the Binghamton netminder. As he raced towards Appleby, Griffith ripped in his sixth tally of the season to cap off the 5-2 victory.
“It was big to get the win, but especially at home,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor when talking about the Amerks stretch of four straight games against divisional opponents. “I thought the guys had good first and second periods, but in the third I thought we came out strong and took the game over. It was important to close out the game after the results we had on Wednesday.”
Rochester opened the scoring 12:17 into the first period as Smith tucked in his 12th marker of the season as the Amerks were on a two-man advantage before Binghamton tied the game at 1-1 during the sandwich stanza.
The Amerks took a 3-1 lead before the midway point of the final frame of regulation when Porter and Baptiste tallied their ninth and seventh goals of the year less than four minutes apart.
Binghamton was able to make it a one-goal game, but again the Amerks added a pair of markers to close out the 5-2 victory.
“These are the type of games that are similar to playoff games,” said Porter. “It is important for us as a group to continue to keep getting better and better and close out games down the stretch. Tonight was a case where we were tied after two periods and we were able to come out and have a good third period. That is crucial as the season rolls on.”
The Amerks travel east down the I-90 to face-off with the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday, Jan. 13 at the War Memorial Arena. The matchup will be the fifth of 10 meetings between the longtime rivals this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Smith (12), Porter (9), Baptiste (7), Criscuolo (9), Griffith (6)
BNG: Lappin (14), Rooney (7)
RCH: Wilcox– 18/20 (W)
BNG: Appleby – 27/32 (L)
RCH: PP (1/4) | PK (2/2)
BNG: PP (0/2) | PK (3/4)