(CLEVELAND, OH)… The Rochester Americans scored twice in the second period and Maxime Legault added a pair of goals in the third, including the game-winner, as the Amerks closed out their three-game road swing with a 4-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters Sunday evening at Quicken Loans Arena.
Mark Mancari notched his second straight two-point game (1+1) to extend his current point streak to three games and Brayden McNabb recorded three assists in the win, which improved Rochester to 5-0-0-0 against the Monsters this season and vaulted the Amerks into a third-place tie with Lake Erie in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings with a 29-22-2-1 record. David Leggio finished with 38 saves on the night en route to his league-leading 28th win of the season, matching the career-high he set last season with the Amerks.
Luke Walker led the Monsters with a goal and an assist while Sami Aittokallio made 22 saves in the losing effort as Lake Erie has now dropped two straight and four of its last five. Rookie forward Andrew Agozzino also scored for the Monsters.
After a scoreless first period, Rochester opened the scoring 5:45 into the middle frame as Luke Adam took Patrick Rissmiller's pass and sent it to the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. Rissmiller, who spent all of last season with Lake Erie, bumped his defender off the puck in the right corner and spotted Adam in the low slot. Adam would fake his shot, drawing Aittokallio out of his crease before slipping the puck inside the near post for his 12th goal of the season. McNabb would also earn his first of three assists on the night.
The Amerks went up 2-0 just over five minutes later when Mancari beat Aittokallio for his team-leading 18th goal of the season with a blast from the top of the left circle. Phil Varone attempted to set up McNabb for a one-timer at the blueline, but Rochester's All-Star defenseman instead shuffled a pass over to Mancari, who unleashed a shot from the half-wall that took a bizarre bounce on its way to sailing over the left shoulder of the Lake Erie netminder. Mancari has now scored a goal in each of his last three games and needs just another two points to be the first Amerk this season to reach the 50-point plateau.
Rochester put the game out of reach in the third with back-to-back goals from Legault, with his first coming just 45 seconds into the final frame. A hard forecheck by Matt Ellis forced a turnover inside the Monsters blueline and Legault, who was trailing the play, collected the loose puck and picked the upper right corner to make it a 3-0 game.
Legault would strike again at 5:07, this time on the power-play, finishing off a nifty passing play to put Rochester ahead 4-0. McNabb moved the puck low to Mancari, who then made a centering feed to a wide-open Legault left all alone in the slot.
Lake Erie was finally able to solve Leggio midway through third period after Walker jumped on a defensive zone turnover and set up Agozzino for an easy one-touch to the back of the net. Walker would then bring the Monsters within a pair in the closing minutes of the frame, beating his defender to the outside and putting a well-placed wrist shot over the glove of Leggio, making it a 4-2 contest.
Rochester returns home on Friday, March 8 as the Amerks host the Abbotsford Heat at The Blue Cross Arena to open up a three-in-three weekend . The 7:05 p.m. game will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK and Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
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