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River Rats Overpower Syracuse 6-3

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Michael Ryan had two power-play goals, and Dwight Helminen added a goal and two assists to lead the River Rats to their third win in five games.

Daniel Manzato, making his first start in goal since Nov. 14, stopped 32 of 35 shots for the win.

Leading, 3-1, Albany (6-9-3-2) allowed two goals in the last 5:29 of the second period before storming back with three goals in the third. Helminen had the unassisted winner, stealing the puck from Crunch defenseman Andrey Plekhanov and going in alone to beat Syracuse goalie Dan LaCosta high over his glove.

Jakub Petruzalek gave the Rats some insurance at 13:35, and Mike Angelidis sealed it on an empty-net goal with 66 seconds remaining.

Albany has now picked up at least one standings point in its last five games, and earned five of six points in three games this week.

Syracuse (14-7-0-1) got goals from Alexandre Picard, Clay Wilson and 18-year-old Nikita Filatov, the AHL's youngest player.

Syracuse 1 2 0

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In its last five games, Albany shows three wins, one overtime loss and one shootout loss, good for eight of a possible 10 points. In the previous five games the Rats were 1-3-1-0, good for three out of 10 points.

If not for blowing a pair of one-goal leads in a 3-2 overtime loss to Hershey on Friday, Albany could have had a clean sweep this week.

"We're happy with the weekend. It was a good weekend for us," coach Jeff Daniels said. "We can look back and wish we had the extra point last night, but it was good to get five out of six. It doesn't get any easier for us. We've got four in five next week, all big games, three within our division. We've got to keep climbing up. I told the guys, good job tonight, get a couple days of rest and it's back to work."

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Michael Ryan (two goals) and Dwight Helminen (two assists, game-winning goal) are two very important cogs in the Rats' offensive machine. It was important to see both players get untracked after struggling in recent weeks.

Ryan had three points, all assists, and was minus-4 in eight games since being returned by the Carolina Hurricanes Nov. 12. Helminen, who had four points in Albany's first three games, had scored just one in his next 11, a stretch also interrupted by a stint with the Canes.

"They were skating hard all game," Daniels said. "Ryan was a little snakebit there, but now he's got two goals and hopefully that gives him some confidence. We definitely need him to score goals for us. Same thing with Helminen. He's been working real hard, but he just hasn't been getting the results. He was productive at both ends tonight."

Both of Ryan's goals came on the power play, driving the net from his spot on the point on Albany's top unit.

"I've got to start scoring more goals for this team," Ryan said. "I've been pressing a little bit. It's important to bear down and just keep playing hard around the net. That's sort of how you get out of those funks, and that's what happened tonight."

Helminen had a clean faceoff win that led to Joe Jensen's goal that made it a 3-1 game early in the second period, and was credited with the secondary assist on Ryan's second goal.

"We've had a hard time scoring goals as a team and myself individually," Helminen said. "We had some good chances tonight, and were able to bury some. I was just trying to focus on the little things. You can't think about it too much or it's never going to happen. I just tried to concentrate on draws and defensive zone coverage and just battle."

On the winner, Helminen stole the puck from defenseman Andrey Plekhanov just outside the Syracuse blue line, skated in alone and roofed a shot over goalie Dan LaCosta's glove and under the crossbar.

"That's a goal-scorer's goal, going top shelf like that," Daniels said. "It was a goal we needed."

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In his first start in two weeks, Daniel Manzato was sharp for Albany, stopping 32 of 35 shots, including all 11 in the third period. He improved his record to 3-4-1-0.

"He made some big saves for us," Daniels said. "He's been sitting on the bench, but he's very, very professional in the way he handles himself. Even though he wasn't playing, he kept working off the ice and was very focused, just waiting for his chance."

In his last start, Manzato was pulled in a 6-3 road loss to Portland. He had eight saves on eight shots in his only appearance since then, relieving Peters in a 5-0 loss at Philadelphia Nov. 19.

"We practice very hard with assistant coach Geordie Kinnear, going on the ice early every day," Manzato said. "Game and practice is not the same, but I feel very comfortable in my net. We practice hard enough to stay in good shape. I was very happy to be in the net tonight, and we played well. The win was very important to us."

********************

The six goals were the most by a Rats team in a regular-season game since beating Hershey, 6-2, on March 19 (30 games) .... Ryan missed an open net on the game's first shift, or he could have become the first Albany player with a hat trick since Cody McLeod on Jan. 20, 2007. That is 137 games and counting .... Jakub Petruzalek extended his goal streak to three games (3-0-3) on a nice effort with 6:25 left in the third period. He got behind the defense and was able to redirect a great pass from D Bryan Rodney on LaCosta, then followed up and chipped in a bouncing puck .... Ryan has points in each of the last four games (2-2-4) .... D Brett Carson stretched his point streak to three games (0-4-4) wtih a pair of assists .... Rodney and Stefan Chaput, each returning from a four-game injury absence, both picked up an assist .... Daniels said none of injured Brett Bellemore, Benn Olson and Bobby Hughes are expected back in 2008. Hughes latest issue is not related to the neck injury that nearly ended his career last season. Olson is expected to miss 4-5 weeks with a broken thumb, suffered in a second-period fight with Binghamton's Chazz Johnson on Thursday.

http://dailygazette.com/weblogs/janack/200...runch-postgame/

And thinking of it seeing it in this articale I was so happy for Michael Ryan tonight. He had seemed to be snake bit as far as scoring for us since being sent back by the Canes. Like in our game lastnight there were about three or four times he missed an open net. Then again tonight in the first he missed another open net. Then right after that he scores two goals. That had to feel so good for him after missing all those shots the past two days and being so snake bit since being back down. He had been working hard just got not get the puck to bounce his way. Hopefully now that he got those two tonght that will set him back on fire now.

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Great to see that the River Rats appear to be back on track after a rough start to their season. If Helminen and Ryan are able to get on track offensively, that could provide a major boost to the River Rats overall. It was also nice to see Manzato with a nice performance after a slow start. I would like to know about the play of Nick Dodge. I haven't seen his name on the scoresheet as much as I would like, but I also know that he is an accomplished defensive forward, so I wanted to know how his play has translated to the professional game.

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Nick Dodge has been decent for us this season. He has 2 goals 5 assist. He is a +2 with 4 PIMS. He is the only one of tqwo players on the team right now that is a plus player for us. The other being Ben Olsen. He is a hard worker who skates hard works hard maybe does not have the points he would like right now but it is not because of hard work.

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Glad to see the Rats do well. I saw the score while watching the nhl highlights. With our blueline being so banged up I figured someone would get called up but I haven't seen anything posted about it.

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Did not relize this untill a friend of me and my wife's called me a little while ago that me and the wife are in the picture on the Rats website of this game lastnight. If you go up to the link in my first post and look at the picture on the Rats website and look behind Samson and the Syracuse player that is me in the red jacket with my arm up and the wife right next to me.

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Glad to see the Rats do well. I saw the score while watching the nhl highlights. With our blueline being so banged up I figured someone would get called up but I haven't seen anything posted about it.
And as far as I know none of the D-men down here have been called up.

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