ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - For Rochester's Brian Flynn, the pace of the American Hockey League game has slowed down since his rookie season began.
Flynn took another step toward adjusting to the AHL with two goals and an assist in the American's 6-2 win over the Abbotsford Heat on Wednesday.
The undrafted 24-year-old picked up his team-leading 17th goal of the season in the win.
"As it's gone on I've been getting more and more minutes and more and more different types of situations," said Flynn, who scored six goals in a nine-game span in January. "The pace of play has definitely slowed down a little. At first it felt pretty fast out there."
Flynn has found an offensive role on the Americans, who are the highest scoring team in the league.
"He's been good, especially for his first year," said Rochester captain Kevin Porter. "He's got great hands, a great shot, but the thing I like best about him is the way he skates. That's important. He's a great skater and the rest just comes easy to him."
Porter himself had a goal and two assists, while Luke Adam, Frederick Roy and Mark Mancari also scored for Rochester (25-16-3), which moved within two points of Abbotsford (24-16-7) for the North Division lead with three games in hand.
The Americans had a five-game winning streak snapped Tuesday morning in a 3-2 loss to Abbotsford but bounced back in a big way.
"We just did a better job of getting pucks in the zone," said Flynn. "We were a little more patient and threw a lot more pucks to the net. With guys crashing the net we scored a lot of goals, with tips right around the net there."
Another difference was the man between the pipes — David Leggio, who missed Tuesday morning's game due to the death of a family member, was back in the Americans' net and made 38 saves to improve his personal winning streak to six games.
"It's a tough travel for us to come here and yesterday we didn't play our best game," said Porter. "It was good to see (Connor Knapp) in there and I thought he played well yesterday but to have Leggio back is good."
Ben Street and Brady Lamb scored for the Heat, while Barry Brust made 24 saves.
The Heat, who had to kill eight power plays Tuesday, again took a lot of penalties, allowing one goal on nine opportunities to the Americans.
"Obviously we out-shot them big time (40-30) but it was huge mental breakdowns at critical times," said Heat defenceman Joe Piskula. "You can't have that against a team like Rochester, one of the leading scoring teams in the league. Those mental breakdowns, especially tonight, hurt us."
Flynn opened the scoring, seconds after a two-man power play expired, at 5:43 of the first. Porter battled with two defenders in the corner and shovelled the puck to Flynn at the right hashmarks where he one-timed it past Brust for his 16th of the year.
The Heat tied it with a power-play goal at 15:41. Street took a pass from Joe Callahan, walked in a few feet and wired home a goal off the post and in.
The Americans regained the lead early in the second while playing 4-on-4. Adam wheeled out from behind the net and threw an off-balanced shot that fooled Brust.
Leggio made one his best stops of the night a couple minutes later when Krys Kolanos and Max Reinhart broke in two-on-one, but Kolanos couldn't squeeze the puck through Leggio's pads, keeping the visitors up 2-1.
"He's been a good goalie against us all year – we've had trouble with him," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "In general, we've played them pretty well. But I'd say he's been the MVP of the series."
Lamb's goal at 7:23 evened the score for the Heat. Tyler Ruegsegger kicked the puck to Lamb at the point and the blue-liner wired a laser shot past the glove of Leggio.
Flynn picked up his second of the game on the power play at 15:33. Brust couldn't see Flynn's wrist shot from the left face-off dot through Nick Tarnasky's screen, giving the Americans a 3-2 lead.
The Rochester captain Porter then took Patrick Rissmiller's chip off the boards, walked in and beat Brust from a tough angle at 18:28 of the second.
"At the end of the second, when it was 2-2, and then we scored two kind of quick ones to go into the third at 4-2," said Flynn. "It's tough to come back in the third down two goals."
The visitors kept the goals coming. Rissmiller threw the puck on net and Roy slid in the rebound at 4:38 of the third.
Mancari then scored at 15:01, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play with Kevin Sundher and Porter.
NOTES: With Danny Taylor signed to a two-way deal by the Calgary Flames on Wednesday and subsequently called up, Brust appears to be the go-to guy until Taylor returns. Tyson Sexsmith, who played four games in the KHL this season, signed a pro try-out to be the backup netminder until then.
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