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Griffith's three-point night leads Amerks to back-to-back wins

The Rochester Amerks won their second game in as many nights at Blue Cross Arena with a 3-1 win over Lehigh Valley Saturday.

Seth Griffith had a hand in all three Rochester goals, assisting on the first two and scoring on an empty net with 1:27 left to give the Amerks (22-8-3-3) points in 23 of their last 27 games dating back to Nov. 1.

Rochester sits two points behind Toronto for the top spot in the North Division and rank second to the Marlies in the Eastern Conference in points percentage. Toronto dominated Bridgeport Saturday afternoon, 6-1.

Amerks rookie C.J. Smith opened the scoring on the power play 5:39 into the first period. It was his 11th goal of season and snapped a seven-game scoring drought. Kyle Criscuolo and Griffith both picked up their 10th assists of the season on the play.

Former Sabres prospect T.J. Brennan tied it for Lehigh Valley (21-11-2-3) with 9:20 left in the first. Another former Amerk, Phil Varone, was limited to two shots. He leads the Phantoms with 28 assists and 38 points, which both rank in the top five of the AHL.

Kevin Porter’s eighth of the year put the Amerks up, 2-1, with 8:20 to play in the second. The lone goal in the period was also assisted by Sahir Gill.

Linus Ullmark stopped 26 of 27 shots by the Phantoms to improve to 14-2-3 in his last 19 appearances. His 17 total wins is tops in the league.

The Amerks entered the game with an 87.3 percent success rate killing penalties, good for second best in the Eastern Conference. Including Saturday night, they’ve killed off 37 straight penalties and haven’t allowed a power-play goal in 10 straight games dating back to Dec. 15.

Rochester also entered Saturday’s matchup with three of the top 10 point-producing defensemen in the AHL with Zach Redmond (8 goals, 16 assists), Stuart Percy (3-17) and rookie Brendan Guhle (7-13), who scored the overtime winner against Bridgeport Friday. All three didn’t record a point Saturday.

The Amerks head to Belleville Wednesday for a 7 p.m. showdown against the Senators.

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