5/2 Recap: Armia shines as Amerks force Game Five

Joel Armia made his greatest impact of the season Friday, notching a pair of first-period goals and topping off the effort with two assists to lead the Rochester Americans to a 7-2 victory over Chicago in Game Four of the AHL Western Conference Quarterfinal. Brayden Irwin added two goals for the Amerks, while Kevin Porter steadied things down the middle with three assists. The series is now even at two games apiece, setting the stage for a fifth and deciding game on Sunday.

Armia got Rochester on the board quickly, chopping at a rebound and beating Jake Allen short side just 1:31 into the opening period. Armia's forward linemates Porter and Nick Deslauriers earned helpers on the play as the Amerks acted swiftly to end the offensive drought that plagued them in Thursday's shutout loss.

Eight seconds later, the Amerks struck again when Colton Gillies got in on the forecheck to create an opportunity for Nick Crawford, who buried his first of the series to make it a 2-0 game just 1:38 in.

The Wolves would get one back at the 5:00 mark thanks to a Nathan Longpre effort down low, but Armia provided an answer minutes later with a quick release from between the circles for his second of the game. The power play marker was assisted by Porter and Johan Larsson.

Rochester wasn't done sending their early message, as Irwin would get a piece of a Rasmus Ristolainen shot from the left circle at 18:49 to increase the Amerks lead to 4-1 heading into the first intermission. Chad Ruhwedel picked up a secondary helper on the tally, giving him five points in the series' four games.

The second period saw Andrey Makarov step up with several big stops before Armia hit Freddy Roy with a pass just as he escaped the penalty box for a breakaway goal at 13:26. Roy's marker would chase Chicago's Jake Allen from the net after the Goalie of the Year winner allowed five goals on 17 shots.

At 16:10, Wolves centerman Christian Hanson won a faceoff and went to the net to tip a Joe Corvo shot past Makarov to cut the Amerks' lead to 5-2. There was no momentum gained though, as Irwin's crease presence saw him earn credit for a goal that was actually deposited into the net by Chicago defender Taylor Chorney. The unassisted power play tally gave the Amerks a comfortable 6-2 lead at the end of forty minutes.

Larsson put the cherry on the top with the only goal of the third period, getting the puck in the low slot and making a nice move to his backhand to complete the 7-2 victory with 6:27 remaining on the clock. Porter and Armia drew assists on the play, with Armia's four-point night setting a personal single-game high since arriving in North America.

Armia (#1), Porter (#2), and Irwin (#3) were named the game's three stars, while Makarov stopped 27 of 29 shots to earn his second career AHL playoff win. The series will be decided with Game Five Sunday in Chicago.

In the USHL, Cal Petersen made 35 saves as Waterloo was defeated by Sioux City 4-3 in overtime. The Black Hawks, who forced extra time with just four seconds left in regulation, continue to lead the Clark Cup semifinal series by a 2-1 margin with Game Four set for Sunday. The overtime defeat was Petersen's first in six postseason starts.

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