Rochester scored twice in the opening two minutes and kept going from there to earn a 7-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Friday night at Allstate Arena in Game 4 of the American Hockey League's Western Conference quarterfinals.
Americans center Joel Armia posted 2 goals and 2 assists as Rochester evened the series 2-2. The Wolves, who received goals from forwards Nathan Longpre and Christian Hanson, host the decisive Game 5 at 3 p.m. Sunday.
The Wolves had not allowed 7 goals in a game all season and had never surrendered 7 goals in a postseason game.
"For us, I think it was a collective effort. We were bad throughout the lineup," said Wolves coach John Anderson. "We had a couple bad breaks early on and it just built. They played a simple, strong, hard game. They played their game plan and never deviated from the start to the end."
Rochester opened the scoring just 1:31 into the game. Nick Deslauriers' shot was rejected by Wolves goaltender Jake Allen, but a Wolves forward whiffed while reaching to clear the puck and Armia batted it home from the bottom of the right circle.
Eight seconds later, Rochester made it 2-0 when defenseman Nick Crawford scored from just inside the blue line after intercepting a Wolves clearing attempt from the corner.
The Wolves cut the margin to 2-1 five minutes into the game. Tyler Shattock dug the puck free along the boards at the Wolves blue line and fed it to Longpre in the neutral zone. Longpre raced down the ice and had his initial shot from the right circle stopped by goaltender Andrey Makarov, but Longpre slammed home the rebound in the slot.
The Americans answered with an Armia power-play goal at 8:44 of the first period. Armia accepted a pass from Kevin Porter in the slot and rifled it past Allen. The Americans made it 4-1 at 18:49 when center Brayden Irwin redirected defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen's wrister from the top of the left circle moments after a Rochester power play expired.
The Americans boosted their lead to 5-1 at 13:26 of the second. Frederick Roy left the penalty box and took a pass at the Wolves blue line from Armia for a breakaway goal. Anderson removed Allen for Matt Climie.
The Wolves made it 5-2 at 16:10 when Hanson drew a faceoff back to defenseman Joe Corvo at the point and rushed toward the net to redirect Corvo's centering pass.
Rochester answered with a power-play goal at 18:22 as Irwin swatted home a rebound from just outside the crease. Larsson added a goal at 13:33 of the third to push the visitors' lead to 7-2.
Allen (2-2) stopped 12 of 17 shots, while Climie posted 13 saves. Makarov (2-2) notched 28 saves.