Amerks Blow Two Goal Lead and Lose to the Griffins

What happened on Friday night in Grand Rapids is exactly what the team didn’t need to happen.  They got out to an early lead but couldn’t hold on to it and went on to lose 4-3 to the Griffins.  The Amerks remain in 10th place and the Griffins are now four points behind them in the standings with three games in hand.  They’ll take the bus to Toronto and play against the Marlies at 5pm Saturday afternoon.

(Photo by Bobby Pulte Griffins Hockey)

Here’s the teams press release game summary:


(Grand Rapids, MI)… The Grand Rapids Griffins rode a three-goal third period en route to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over the Rochester Americans at Van Andel Arena on Friday night. The loss snapped Rochester’s three-game winning streak.

Colin Stuart (0+2) and Phil Varone (0+2) chipped in two assists apiece for Rochester, with Brayden McNabb (1+0), Luke Adam (1+0), and T.J. Brennan (1+0) providing the goals. Netminder David Leggio turned away 28 of 32 Griffins shots between the pipes in his fourth straight start.

Joakim Andersson (2+0) led the way offensively for Grand Rapids with a two-goal performance, while Francis Pare (1+1) contributed a goal and an assist. Louis-Marc Aubry (1+0) also lit the lamp in the victory and goaltender Ty Conklin finished with 34 saves.

The Amerks got on the board first at 14:54 of the opening period when McNabb potted his fourth goal of the season. The blueliner was the recipient of a centering pass from Varone in the slot and quickly snapped it through the legs of Conklin.

Adam tallied his first goal as an Amerk to double the Rochester advantage to 2-0 just 1:51 into the middle frame. The reigning AHL Rookie of the Year pounced on a loose rebound in the slot after a well executed line rush with Stuart and Evan Rankin, each of whom picked up an assist on the play.

The Griffins cut their deficit to 2-1 at 14:50 of the second period, as Andersson buried a shot from the slot after taking a feed from Gustav Nyquist.

Andersson cashed in his second consecutive goal 4:35 into the final period to even the score at two apiece. After Logan Pyett’s point shot failed to get to the net, Andersson corralled the puck and shoveled it into the net off the skate of a Rochester defender.

Grand Rapids scored its third straight unanswered goal at 9:39 of the third, as Aubrey deflected home a pass from Pare from the right circle.

The Amerks answered back on the power-play at 13:33 to knot things up 3-3. Brennan one-timed a Varone feed at the right-circle past Conklin for his 12th of the season, tying him for the most goals amongst AHL blueliners.

The Griffins regained the lead 4-3 with just 3:35 remaining in regulation, as Pare converted his own rebound from the top of the crease after having his initial bid denied by Leggio.

Rochester heads north of the border on Saturday, March 3 for the first of back-to-back tilts with the first-place Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum. Game time is slated for a 5:00 p.m. start and will be carried live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.