Rochester Americans 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4
March 2, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Francis Pare scored off his own rebound with 3:35 remaining on Friday to lift the Grand Rapids Griffins to a hard-fought 4-3 comeback win over the Rochester Americans before a crowd of 9.275 at Van Andel Arena.
Joakim Andersson’s two goals brought Grand Rapids out of a 2-0 hole while Ty Conklin made the Griffins’ rally possible by making 34 saves. Conklin, who joined Mathieu Chouinard (5-0 in 2000-01) as the only goalies in franchise history to win their first four decisions, has now backstopped Grand Rapids to its first four-game winning streak and three-game home winning streak this season.
The Griffins (24-21-5-4), who are also three games over 0.500 for the first time in the current campaign, will welcome the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Barons to town on Saturday, concluding a stretch of 10-of-12 games at Van Andel Arena. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
Rochester (26-22-6-3) scored the lone goal of the first period during a delayed penalty at the 14:54 mark, when Brayden McNabb took Phil Varone’s pass from the end boards and slapped the puck past Conklin from the right side.
An energized Amerks squad generated several scoring chances in the opening minutes of the second period and was rewarded just 1:51 in. Luke Adam took advantage of a vacated net to bat the puck out of the air on his backhand and notch his first AHL goal of the season, after scoring 10 times in 52 appearances with the parent Buffalo Sabres.
Andersson scored the first of his goals at 14:50 to cut the Griffins’ deficit to 2-1. Taking a pass from Gustav Nyquist at the Rochester blue line, Andersson burst to the high slot and unleashed a wrist shot that sailed past David Leggio. With his 35th helper and 52nd point of the campaign, Nyquist tied Glen Metropolit’s 14-year-old franchise rookie record for assists and tied Justin Abdelkader for the second-highest point total by a first-year Griffin.
Grand Rapids clawed its way into the lead by scoring twice in the first 10 minutes of the third period. Andersson was credited with the tying tally at 4:35 when his centering pass deflected off the skate of a Rochester defenseman in the crease, and Louis-Marc Aubry put the Griffins ahead at 9:39 by potting Pare’s feed at the doorstep.
The home team’s advantage didn’t last long, as T.J. Brennan connected on a blast from the top of the circle during a power play at 13:33 to knot the score at three apiece. But less than three minutes later, Pare scored the game-winner to mark just the second time this season that the Griffins either overcame a two-goal deficit to win (Dec. 2) or won when trailing after two periods (Nov. 23). Pare’s goal was the 74th of his Griffins career, moving him past Derek King and into sole possession of fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list.
Leggio finished with 28 saves in the loss.
Three Stars: 1. GR Pare (game-winning goal, assist); 2. GR Andersson (two goals); 3. RCH Stuart (two assists)