04/10/2012 7:09 PM
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Rochester Americans 4 OT
April 10, 2012
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Doug Janik became the first player in franchise history to score on a penalty shot in overtime, which gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a hard-fought 5-4 victory over the Rochester Americans on Tuesday night at Blue Cross Arena.
Grand Rapids (33-29-7-4) kept its playoff hopes alive, but it must win its last three games and get help from other Western Conference teams to earn a postseason berth. The overtime loss moved Rochester (34-26-10-4) into a five-team logjam with Milwaukee, Houston, Peoria and Lake Erie as it battles for one of the final playoff positions.
Rochester’s Corey Tropp found the back of the net twice in just under three minutes to put the home team up two goals in the first period. Tropp struck at 12:54 of the opening frame when he caught the Griffins off guard during a line change and snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Tom McCollum. He added his second at 15:47, tapping home a long centering feed from Paul Szczechura for his ninth goal of the season.
The Griffins answered with two goals in 44 seconds to level the game at two before the first intermission. Tomas Tatar found Garnet Exelby open at the point, and the captain’s long snap shot fooled Americans goaltender David Leggio and brought the team within one at 16:46. At 17:30, Logan Pyett made a savvy play at the blue line to get the puck deep to Tatar, who beat Leggio for his 21st goal of the season.
Fabian Brunnstrom registered his 12th goal of the season at 6:26 of the second period to put the Griffins up 3-2. Brunnstrom collected the puck at center ice and turned Rochester defenseman T.J. Brennan inside-out with a quick move before firing a hard wrist shot past the blocker of Leggio.
Tatar added his second goal – and third point – of the game when he backhanded the rebound of a Janik shot into the Rochester net to give the Griffins a two-goal lead at 9:55. Francis Pare picked up the secondary assist, extending his career-best point streak to nine games, the longest streak of any Griffin this season. Pare has tallied 12 points (2-10—12) since the start of the streak (March 24).
Rochester came out flying in the third period and quickly erased the Griffins’ two-goal lead. Luke Adam notched his third goal of the season at 3:42, tipping a shot from Brayden McNabb past McCollum. A Brennan blast from the blue line found its way through traffic and past McCollum at 5:23 to knot the game at four.
The Americans were desperate to pick up the extra point in regulation, firing 18 third-period shots on the Grand Rapids net. The Griffins were equal to the challenge, killing off four third period penalties, including two brief five-on-three man advantages, to force overtime. McCollum made several of his 36 stops during the Rochester barrage.
After Tatar was nearly sprung for a breakaway in overtime, a Rochester defender was ruled guilty of throwing his stick 1:46 into the overtime session, giving Janik a chance to end the game on a penalty shot. The former Rochester defender did just that, coming in wide on Leggio and roofing a shot to seal the 5-4 victory.
Leggio saved 25 of 30 in Rochester’s loss.
Note: Center Alan Quine made his professional debut, but he did not factor on the scoresheet.
Three Stars: 1. RCH Tropp (two goals); 2. GR Tatar (goal, two assists); 3. RCH Brennan (goal)
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