The Buffalo Sabres knew what they were doing when they signed free agent Kevin Porter to a contract – and if Kevin Porter knew the organization, he knew he would be spending more time in a red, white, and blue sweater as opposed to a blue and gold one.
The Rochester Americans need that veteran leadership right now, after losing much of their talent to the NHL at the end of the lockout. Tonight, without the teams leading scorers – Kevin Porter led his squad to victory over the Syracuse Crunch – the top team in the AHL.
This makes the Rochester Americans 2-0 against the Crunch in their last two meetings.
Mark Mancari opened the scoring up – he got himself open in front of the net, took a nice feed from the opposite side of the ice and had a gaping net to laser the puck into. Dustin Tokarski had little chance to even get movement from left to right to make an attempt at the shot. That was Mancari’s eleventh goal of the season.
The first period would end at 1-0, and the Rochester Americans added two goals by Brian Flynn and Evan Rankin before the Syracuse Crunch would even wake up.
Rochester got complacent and you could see the dominance in the Crunch game come out. A scrum and a loose puck in front of the net – and Jared Nightingale was able to punch the puck in the net. The television broadcast would go to a commercial with the announcers calling a 3-0 break in the action, despite the fact that the Syracuse players were celebrating a goal.
The commercial break would end and the faceoff at center ice could only mean on thing, that further review credited the Crunch with a goal. Leggio would be perfect the rest of the way, stopping 26 of 27 shots. You could do little to fault Leggio for the Crunch’s lone goal.
Phil Varone would snap the puck into the net to put the nail in the coffin of the Crunch – after going eleven games in a dry spell, Varone would get two points on the night, with his goal and a secondary assist on Rankin’s goal.
Rochester gets to take the weekend off to celebrate the start of the NHL regular season – and will continue their three game home stand on Monday against the Hamilton Bulldogs. For those of you who have the holiday off on Monday and can make it to Rochester, its a 1:05 start time.
Rochester faces off against Syracuse on the tail end of this home stand, visiting Syracuse on February 2nd.
Here are the highlights from tonight’s game if you couldn’t catch the action on the Time Warner Sports Channel.
The next televised game for the Rochester Americans happens on back to back nights, with the February 1st game against the division leader Toronto Marlies (Tim Connolly‘s coming to town) and the February 2nd game against the Syracuse Crunch.
With tonight’s win – Rochester has moved into seventh place, and is just four points behind division leading Toronto which could put them up into the third place position. Currently the Binghamton Senators are the top team in the American Hockey League with 54 points.
After tonights offensive output, Rochester is second in AHL for goals scored with 128. Only tonight’s opponent has more with 132.