Connor Knapp earns first pro win as Amerks top Phantoms 3-1
ROCHESTER, NY -- A two-goal performance by Kevin Porter and a strong showing between the pipes by rookie goaltender Connor Knapp powered the Rochester Americans to a 3-1 victory over the Adirondack Phantoms in front 5,948 fans at The Blue Cross Arena on Friday night.
Knapp, the York native who was making just his third start of the season, turned in a stellar effort in goal as the rookie netminder turned away 41 of the Phantoms’ 42 shots to earn his professional win and help the Amerks snap a three-game losing streak.
“I want to be a contributor to the team,” said Knapp, who made several big saves in the game, including 25 in the second period alone. “When the guys are playing that hard for you, you need to chip in on your end. The most important thing is to get a win in the middle of this streak, to give us a fresh start. But it was definitely nice to get my first win here at home and in front of a lot of family.”
Porter scored twice, recording one on the power-play and the other shorthanded, while rookie forward Brian Flynn rounded out the scoring for the Amerks, netting his ninth of the season to tie T.J. Brennan for the team lead. The shorthanded goal marked the fourth of the season for the Amerks, which ranks second in the American Hockey League.
The Amerks jumped out to an early lead as Flynn scored his ninth goal of the season at 3:44 of the first period. The power-play goal came when Marcus Foligno’s shot rebounded to Flynn, who rifled a shot into the open net giving the Amerks a 1-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, the Phantoms responded when Sean Couturier batted home the rebound off Jason Akeson’s shot. Couturier’s seventh goal of the season tied the game at one with 15:06 remaining in the first.
Porter regained the lead for the Amerks as he one-timed a Luke Adam pass from the slot to give the Amerks a 2-1 advantage. The Amerks’ second power-play goal of the night came at 14:04 of the second stanza.
Porter would strike again, giving the Amerks a 3-1 lead when he broke down the wing and fired a wrister over the glove of Phantom’s goalie Cal Heeter. The shorthanded goal was scored with 8:29 remaining in the second period, giving the Amerks’ captain his first two-goal game of the season.
Knapp kept the Phantoms off the board for the last 55 minutes of the contest to preserve Rochester’s two-goal cushion en route to his first career victory.
The Amerks head north of the border on Saturday, Dec. 8 for the second time in as many weeks to take on the defending Western Conference champion Toronto Marlies in a North Division showdown at Ricoh Coliseum. The 7:00 p.m. matchup will be the fourth of 10 get-togethers between the two teams and can be heard live on Sports 1280 WHTK. The game will also be televised live nationally across Canada on Sportsnet ONE. Toronto has claimed all three meetings with Rochester thus far this season, outscoring the Amerks 10-4.