Goal sparks Rochester

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Derek Roy was more than happy to pick up the offensive slack.

With talented rookie Thomas Vanek out with a groin injury and high-scoring winger Jason Pominville out for the playoffs with a broken ankle, Roy took centre stage in the third period, scoring twice and adding an assist to lead the Rochester Americans to 4-2 win over the Manitoba Moose last night to take the opening game of the best-of-seven American Hockey League North Division final.

"We can't afford to be playing 15 good minutes every game," said Roy, referring to the 2-0 deficit his team faced before getting on the board at 7:34 of the third on a power-play goal he set up. "Battling back like that shows huge character, we've done it the whole playoffs but we can't rely on coming back every night."

So how have the Americans been able to come from behind in each of their five wins in the Calder Cup playoffs?

"When things are going wrong, everybody sticks together and there is no negativity on the bench," said Roy, who captained the Kitchener Rangers to the Memorial Cup in 2003 and was tournament MVP. "We're a great team when we're playing hard. In the third period, for some reason, one goal sparked us. We got right on the horse and played well."

DAY-TO-DAY

Vanek, who had 42 goals and 68 points, is listed as day-to-day.

Pominville, who had 30 goals and 68 points in 78 games, broke his ankle on April 15.

EARS RINGING: If he hadn't been through the grind before, it might have been tough for Josh Green to sleep last night.

The veteran Moose forward had an opportunity to give his team a 3-0 lead but his hard shot clanged off the goalpost.

"If I get that one, it's a different mindset," said Green. "But with a two-goal lead going into the third, we should have had it wrapped up."

"We did exactly what we wanted to do for the first two periods, but when they got the first goal we seemed to panic a little bit," said Green. "We made a couple of mistakes and with this team, we can't do that. We have to play as close as we can to mistake-free hockey."

The Moose were well aware of the Americans third-period exploits and even talked about them during the second intermission.

"We knew it, they came from behind in every game of the first series," said Green. "We talked about it and did our best not to let it happen. When we have a lead, we have to play better with it. We're disappointed right now, but we're going to come back with an even better effort (on Friday)."

Game 2 goes tomorrow at 6:35 p.m.


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