Goaltender David Leggio had 48 saves as the Rochester Americans defeated the Abbotsford Heat by a score of 5-2 in the first of consecutive games between the AHL teams. They’ll meet again Saturday at 10 p.m. EST.
Five different players scored for Rochester in Friday’s game, which started off scoreless at the end of the first period. Brian Flynn scored his tenth of the season on the power play just over two minutes into the middle frame, and Zemgus Girgensons – who could have been playing for Latvia at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships – added a goal five minutes later to make it 2-0.
Abbotsford would come back in the third period, with Max Reinhart tallying a shorthanded goal less than three minutes in – but the Americans regained the two-goal lead on that same penalty. Defenseman Nick Crawford scored his second goal of the season to give the Americans a 3-1 lead.
The Americans would score again less than six minutes later, upping the lead to 4-1 on a goal by captain Kevin Porter.
With the third period halfway gone, Abbotsford’s Ben Walter scored his fifth goal of the season to cut the lead to two goals, and the Heat pulled for the extra man later in the game. Rochester took advantage of the empty net, as Mark Mancari scored his eighth goal of the season to secure the win.
With just two goals allowed on 50 shots faced, Leggio was named first star of the game. Heat goaltender Barry Brust stopped 25 of 29 shots faced in the loss.
The teams will meet again – same time, same place – on Saturday evening, with just two points separating them in the standings.
Abbotsford won the first meeting of the season between the teams, a 3-2 victory in Rochester on November 16. The Americans came back and won the second meeting in a shootout on December 11.
After tonight, the teams meet twice in Abbotsford on February 5 and 6, then travel to Rochester on March 8 and 10 to close out the season meetings.