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Amerks pull away late for third straight home win

The Rochester Americans erupted for four third-period goals Friday night to pull away from Binghamton for a 5-2 win over the Devils at Blue Cross Arena.

Three players recorded multiple points to help the Amerks win their third game in a row at home and improve their overall record to 23-8-4-3. Seth Griffith had a goal and two assists, while C.J. Smith and Kyle Criscuolo each added one goal and one assist.

Rochester’s 53 points remains one behind Toronto for first place in the North Division and Eastern Conference. The Marlies (27-11) beat Charlotte on the road Friday, 4-1.

The Amerks have now collected at least a point in 25 of their last 29 games and in 31 of 38 outings this season. They’re 4-1 against the Devils, who are the last-place team in the Eastern Conference with an 11-20-4-2 record.

Goalie Linus Ullmark and rookie defenseman Brendan Guhle were assigned to Rochester Friday afternoon after stints with the Sabres this week, but both were held out of the lineup against Binghamton.

Guhle notched his first NHL point with an assist on Kyle Okposo’s game-winning goal in Thursday’s 3-1 win against Columbus. Ullmark made the start and stopped 44 shots, the most in a win by a Sabres netminder since Anders Nilsson stopped 46 of 47 shots in a Nov. 2016 game against Pittsburgh.

Rochester’s Adam Wilcox made his second straight start in place of Ullmark. He made 18 saves to improve to 6-3-4 in 15 appearances so far this season and also picked up an assist on Nick Baptiste’s game-winning goal. The Amerks had 32 shots on goal.

Justin Bailey and Nathan Paetsch returned to the lineup from injury, and Alex Nylander was back after helping Sweden to a silver medal at the World Juniors held in Buffalo.

Smith opened the scoring on the power play with 7:43 left in the first period. His 12th goal of the season was assisted by Griffith and Stuart Percy.

Binghamton tied it up 4:40 into the second, the only goal in the middle frame.

Amerks captain Kevin Porter made it 2-1 4:51 into the third period when he stole the puck in the offensive zone and buried a return feed from Griffith. Baptiste scored on a spinning shot from the left circle 3:16 later for his seventh goal of the season. Criscuolo had the primary assist.

The Devils made it a one-goal game again with 8:11 to go but couldn’t tie it up.

Criscuolo scored his ninth with 5:27 left with assists going to Smith and Paetsch, and Griffith capped it off on a breakaway 1:41 later from a Sean Malone feed.

Rochester heads to Syracuse today for a 7 p.m. game against the Crunch at War Memorial Arena.

The Amerks are the only team in the AHL with one regulation loss away from home. Their record currently sits at 12-1-4-2 in 19 road games this season.

Utica then visits Rochester at 1:05 p.m. Monday afternoon.

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