Strong first period propels Amerks to 4-1 win over Crunch

Updated: 03/07/2014 11:33 PM
Created: 03/07/2014 10:41 PM WHEC.com

Rookie forward Joel Armia led the charge for the Amerks with a goal and an assist, defenseman Chad Ruhwedel added two assists, and Johan Larsson, Jamie Tardif and Tim Schaller all finished with goals to round out the scoring for Rochester, which now has points in seven of its last nine games . Nathan Lieuwen was sharp in net once again, stopping 28 shots for his 16th win of the season and 10th in his past 14 starts. 

Mike Angelidis scored the lone goal for the visiting Crunch halfway through the third period, and Kristers Gudlevskis, fresh off his Olympic debut with Team Latvia in Sochi, made 21 saves between the pipes. 

Rochester opened the scoring 11:29 into the game when Dan Catenacci set up with the puck in the corner of the Syracuse zone and fed Larsson stationed at the high circle. With a Syracuse defender applying pressure, Larsson collected the puck and whipped it on net all in one motion, putting the Amerks up 1-0. The goal continues a productive stretch for Larsson, who now has 25 points in 22 games since his Jan. 11 reassignment from the Buffalo Sabres.

On the power-play just 3:12 later, Phil Varone circled around the top of the zone and threw a shot on net with Tardif parked in front. Tardif managed to get a stick on the shot and tip it in for the forward’s 18th goal of the year, and continuing the Amerks strong run with the man-advantage.

Schaller’s goal with 2:19 left in the opening period put the Amerks up by three scores, as the rookie drove to the net at full speed and floated a backhand shot on net that trickled past Gudlevskis. Lieuwen, who played the puck up to Ruhwedel to start the play, picked up the first assist of his AHL career on the goal.

Rochester scored its fourth goal on a hard-working play from Colton Gillies with 4:55 remaining in the second period. Gillies sped into the offensive zone and out-muscled Syracuse defenseman Dan Milan for a loose puck before swinging a no-look backhand pass in front of the net to Armia. With Gudlevskis looking the other way, Armia finished into the empty side of the net as Rochester went up 4-0. 

Syracuse ruined Lieuwen’s shutout bid with 11 minutes remaining in regulation, as Angelidis tapped home a pass from Vladislav Namestnikov for the Crunch’s lone goal. 

The Amerks and Crunch square off for the second straight night on Saturday, March 8 as the home-and-home series shifts to the War Memorial at Oncenter in Syracuse. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be the sixth of eight scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be broadcast live on Sports 1280 WHTK. 

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