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The Rochester Report
First place Amerks on five-game winning streak
ROCHESTER (LGS) — After acquiring more frequent flyer miles, the Rochester Americans headed back to the Flour City for some much needed home cooking. Anyone who travels will tell you that nothing beats a night in your own bed. Getting dressed in your ‘home’ dressing room is good too.

On Friday night, the Rochester Americans took advantage of their surroundings, and played the role of the rude host to the visiting Syracuse Crunch, wining 3-2 in a shootout.

However, if you were to ask Coach Randy Cunneyworth, the Amerks were perhaps too nice of hosts to their rivals to the east.

“I thought that they were the much better team for most of the game,” the second winingest coach in Amerks history said.

The long-time, bitter rivals skated through the first stanza to a one all tie.

Syracuse’s Joakim Lindstrom opened the scoring 12:22 into the first period. Entering the Rochester zone, Lindstrom took a shot from the point which Amerk keeper Craig Anderson made a left pad save. ‘Andy’ was unable to control the rebound as it bounced right back to Lindstrom who slipped it into the twine.

Rochester tied the game with just three ticks remaining in the first. In an amazing individual effort, Janis Sprukts won the face off to the right of the Syracuse net. Pushing the puck forward on the draw, Sprukts slipped around his man and re-collected the puck just to the bottom of the face off circle. As he went low behind the Crunch net, Sprukts looked to the slot and spotted a wide open Clarke MacArthur who one-timed Sprukts pass into the back of the net.

After Syracuse jumped back to a one goal lead at 2-1, Rochester again battled back to tie the game. This time it was Mark Mancari scoring the game tying goal just shy of five minutes into the third.

MacArthur did the dirty work drawing most of the Crunch players into the low slot, which left the defensemen Mancari wide open at the point. Mancari strode a few steps towards the net and then fired a laser over Tomas Popperle’s shoulder.

Sensing that the crowd, and his team needed a lift, Mancari did his best “Ray Lewis pumping up the home crowd” impersonation as he waved his arms up and down imploring the crowd to get off their hands.

“I was just trying to get the fans behind us, and get the boys going,” Mancari said. “We were grabbing our sticks a little tight.”

After skating through a scoreless overtime period, Rochester went to the shootout to decide the contest.

MacArthur capped his impressive night by opening the shootout with a goal. Coming in on Popperle, MacArthur did a Thomas Vanek “around the world” move.

“I’d done it in practice a few times, and I figured if it works for him I might as well try it,” the All-Star MacArthur said.

Drew Stafford was the only other player to score in the shootout. Coming in on goal, Staff had difficulty controlling the puck on the choppy ice. Twice he had to cup the puck with the blade of his stick, perhaps throwing off Popperle in the process. As he approached the crease he made a nifty move to the backhand and roofed the puck into the net.

“The puck rolled up on me a bit,” Stafford said. “I was just trying to settle it, not do anything special.”

Despite picking up the win, Cunneyworth says the team has to play better.

“We got the points, but we can’t do that too many times,” Cunney said about the uninspired play for most of the game.

The Rest of the Action:

“On the road again,
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again,
And I can't wait to get on the road again.”

These classic lines from a song popularized by Willie Nelson in 1980 certainly hit close to home to the Rochester Americans. Playing just three games at the Blue Cross Arena in the month of January, the Amerks headed to Syracuse for a spirited match in the OnCenter.

The Amerks ran their winning streak to three, as they beat the Crunch 5-2. Drew Stafford led the way for the Amerks, scoring two goals on the night. Also potting goals for the Amerks were Anthony Stewart, Rob Globke and Marek Zagrapan.

The game was marred by a brawl at the 17:41 mark of the third period. Crunch coach Ross Yates took an exception to Amerks coach Randy Cunneyworth placing one of his top power play units on the ice while leading 5-2.

Greg Jacina and Mark Mancari went off for fighting for Rochester, while Andy Canzanello, Marc Methot and Ben Simon were ticketed for Syracuse. Further complicating, or confusing, matters was that despite being given a five minute major for fighting, Mancari remained on the ice once play resumed.

Craig Anderson picked up the win between the pipes for the Amerks, stopping 37 shots.

On Tuesday night the Amerks played in Iowa for a second meeting with the Stars, and they extended their winning streak to four as they won 5-4.

Mark Mancari scored two goals and Greg Jacina and Dylan Hunter added the others as the Amerks won on the road. Clarke MacArthur, Mark Mancari and Michael Ryan each scored in the shootout. Ryan tallied twice. Craig Anderson again picked up the win in net as he made 33 saves on the night.

Last night the Amerks picked up their fifth win in a row by beating the Peoria Riverman 4-2 at the Carver Arena.

Buffalo-native and St. Francis High School alumnus Patrick Kaleta picked up his first professional goal giving the Amerks the game's first lead seven minutes in. Peoria would score two goals in the second period but Rochester responded with three goals in the final 24 minutes of play.

Clarke MacArthur led the offense with one goal and two assists while goaltender Adam Dennis made 32 saves. Marek Zagrapan and Stefan Meyer also scored for the Americans.

Three Stars
1. Craig Anderson – Al Davis would love this guy, he “just win’s baby”
2. Clarke MacArthur – Gritty winger just keeps producing. This is not a recording.
3. Mark Mancari – providing leadership, and a willingness to play anywhere on any given night

Wrist Shots from the Amerks locker room and around the AHL...
► Randy Cunneyworth moved into second on the all time wins list in Rochester Americans history with 261 victories. He moved past “The Crow,” Joe Crozier into sole possession with the win in Iowa on Tuesday.
► Jason Krog was claimed off waivers by the Rangers after being sent back to Chicago by Atlanta on Friday.
► After skating with the Crunch on Friday night, Joakim Lindstrom was called up to Columbus for an emergency recall and skated on Saturday versus the Nashville Predators. Lindstrom arrived just before game time on Saturday.
► As of Wednesday night, Clarke MacArthur remained in 7th place in scoring in the American Hockey League with 49 points (17g, 32a).
► Craig Anderson is ranked 6th in wins with 14.

By Stephen Sickles, LGS Columnist
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