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Griffins double up Amerks 4-2 in Grand Rapids

Thursday, 12.20.2012 / 8:55 AM / News
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DOUBLE DOWN
The Rochester Americans scored a pair of power-play goals, but it was not enough as the Amerks dropped a 4-2 decision to the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena. The game marked the final matchup of the season between the former North Division rivals, who each posted wins on home ice throughout the two-game season series.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI. -- The Rochester Americans scored a pair of power-play goals, but it was not enough as the Amerks dropped a 4-2 decision to the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena. The game marked the final matchup of the season between the former North Division rivals, who each posted wins on home ice throughout the two-game season series.

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Phil Varone and T.J. Brennan provided the scoring for the Amerks in front of a 28-save effort from rookie goaltender Connor Knapp, who was making just his fifth start of the campaign.

Gustav Nyquist paced the Griffins with a two-point night (0+2), while the Griffins received goals from four different players. Petr Mrazek earned the win in net, stopping 19 of 21 shots he faced.

Grand Rapids opened the scoring just 2:49 into the contest after a net-front scramble led to Luke Glendening’s first American Hockey League goal. Former Amerk Triston Grant corralled Mitch Callahan’s rebound from the right corner and darted toward the net looking to beat Knapp on the short-side. Knapp, however, would make the initial save before causing a pile-up in the crease, where Glendening, a Grand Rapids native playing in his first game with the Griffins, knocked it over the goal-line to put the home team ahead 1-0.

Rochester would need just seven seconds on the power-play to knot the game at one apiece with a goal from Varone at 8:17 of the first period. After a clean face-off win in the Grand Rapids zone, Luke Adam found Varone in the low slot, where he one-timed a shot to the back of net for his third goal of the season. With the assist, Adam extends his point streak to six games, while Mark Mancari notched his third point in as many games with the secondary assist.

The Griffins would quickly regain the lead just 2:42 later as Jeff Hoggan capitalized on a defensive zone turnover. Stationed just inside the Rochester blueline, Hoggan intercepted the Amerks’ attempted clearing pass, beat his defender to the outside and snapped a shot just inside the far post for the unassisted tally to give Grand Rapids the 2-1 advantage after 20 minutes of play.

The second stanza saw the teams exchange goals, beginning with another power-play goal from the Amerks just 5:55 into the period. After Knapp gloved down a shorthanded opportunity from Griffins forward Landon Ferraro, Cody Hodgson gained possession and led the rush up ice along the right wing boards. Upon gaining entry in the Griffins zone, Hodgson dropped a pass to a trailing Brennan, who picked the right corner from the top of the left circle for his team-leading 10th goal of the season. The goal snapped an eight-game goal-less drought for Brennan, who also leads the Amerks with five power-play goals on the season. Hodgson’s assist marked his first point since Oct. 27, while Knapp also registered his first professional point with an assist on the play.

The Griffins pulled ahead once again midway through the middle frame as Joakim Andersson tipped in Chad Billins’ shot from the left point. Knapp appeared to have the initial shot from Billins in sight, but Andersson, who started the play with a drop pass to Billins at the blueline, continued to the net and redirected it to the top right corner of the net.

After almost two minutes of 6-on-5 play with Knapp on the bench, Francis Pare added an empty-netter with just 52 seconds left in regulation to secure the 4-2 win for Grand Rapids.

Rochester returns home to The Blue Cross Arena on Friday, Dec. 21 as the Amerks battle the Binghamton Senators in the first leg of a two-game set between the intrastate rivals. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK and will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 26.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82