01/21/2012 8:38 PM
Rochester Americans 4 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 SO
Jan. 21, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A 3-2 lead heading into the third period proved to be unsafe for the Grand Rapids Griffins, as the Rochester Americans battled back to a 4-3 shootout win on Saturday night at Van Andel Arena.
With the extra point they picked up for the shootout loss, the Griffins (16-16-4-4) took over sole possession of fourth place in the North Division, sitting just one point back of third-place Hamilton and four of second-place Rochester (18-15-5-3). The Griffins and Americans will battle again on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Any hopes Joey MacDonald had at a second shutout in as many nights were dashed by Rochester defenseman Nick Crawford just 9:09 into the opening frame. Moments after Doug Janik rang a puck loudly off the post on a power play, Marcus Foligno found Crawford wide open in the slot, and he slid the puck between the legs of MacDonald to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
A bit of luck and a hard drive to the net saw Grand Rapids even the score at one at 11:19. Tomas Tatar found Francis Pare joining an odd-man rush late, but Pare’s bid was deflected up in the air by an Amerks defenseman. The puck landed to the side of David Leggio’s goal, where Tatar was able to jam it in for his 12th tally of the season.
Tatar and Pare combined for the Griffins’ second goal of the night, giving them a 2-1 lead at 4:06 of the second period. After buzzing around the Rochester zone, Tatar found Pare from behind the net, and Pare made no mistake in beating a sprawled Leggio up high.
The Griffins extended that lead to two at the 15:16 mark. After Fabian Brunnstrom had his shot blocked, Brian Lashoff jumped on a failed clearing attempt by Rochester and fired a bullet to the top corner of the net for his seventh goal on the year.
Rochester answered before the end of the second period. Zack Kassian was hovering around the slot and collected a rebound that he quickly launched at the net, beating MacDonald over the shoulder to make the score 3-2 at 16:27.
The Americans drew even 4:33 into the third period when Alex Biega fed Mark Voakes, who had slipped behind the Griffins defensemen. Voakes made a quick move and slid a backhander past MacDonald for his sixth goal on the season.
The teams traded chances in a fast-paced overtime, but both goaltenders were up to the challenge. With one minute remaining in the extra session, Leggio made a sliding kick save to thwart Joakim Andersson and bring the game to a shootout.
After each team scored twice to begin the shootout, Rochester's Shawn Szydlowski provided the clincher in the fourth round. His backhand attempt seemed to be originally stopped by MacDonald, but the puck didn’t stop moving and just barely trickled over the line.
Three Stars: 1. GR Tatar (goal, assist); 2. RCH Voakes (goal); 3. RCH Lagace (assist)
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