Varone gets four points in Amerks win

( — A career-best four-point day from Phil Varone and a 31-save effort from goaltender David Leggio powered the Rochester Americans to a 4-1 win over the Lake Erie Monsters in a Tuesday school-day matinee at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland.

With the win, the Amerks remain undefeated against the Monsters this season (4-0-0-0) and move into a tie with Lake Erie for second place in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings.

Varone had his hand in all four Rochester goals, scoring two unassisted tallies and adding two assists, and Leggio extended his personal win streak to a season-long seven games as the red-hot Amerks have now won eight of nine and nine of their last 11 games.

Rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard stopped 22 shots and Paul Carey scored the lone goal for the Monsters, who saw their winless streak reach five games (0-2-0-3) in the loss.

Rochester opened the scoring 6:12 into the first period as Frederick Roy poked in Patrick Rissmiller’s wrap-around attempt to give the Amerks an early 1-0 lead. Rissmiller, who played with the Monsters last season, circled around the Lake Erie cage looking to stuff a shot inside the near post, but the rebound kicked out to the goal mouth where a waiting Roy shoveled it past Pickard for his sixth goal of the season and third in as many games. Varone would earn his first of four points of the day with an assist on the goal.

Varone made it a 2-0 contest midway through the frame after his shorthanded breakaway goal spotted the Amerks a two-goal cushion at 11:40. Varone intercepted Cameron Gaunce’s pass at the blue line and sprung free alone before slipping a backhander through the legs of Pickard for the unassisted tally.

The Amerks carried the momentum into the second period as a power-play goal from Crawford at 16:19 gave Rochester its biggest lead of the day. Varone, stationed along the left half-wall, one-touched Luke Adam’s offer across the way to Crawford, who left his post in the high slot and put a shot under the crossbar for his fourth of the season. The goal gives Crawford four points (2g, 2a) through his first five games in February having only been held scoreless once during the stretch.

Lake Erie spoiled Leggio’s bid for the shutout late in the third period as Carey converted David van der Gulik’s pass at 15:47 to bring the Monsters within a pair, but Varone would add an empty-netter at 18:57 to cap his four-point game and secure Rochester the 4-1 victory.