Amerks Fall in First of Two with Marlies
(Rochester, NY) ... For the first time in six games dating back to last season, the Rochester Americans (22-13-2-0) failed to earn a point against the Toronto Marlies (19-14-3-2), who scored four straight unanswered goals on their way to a 5-1 victory in front a season-high crowd of 8,326 at The Blue Cross Arena.
Friday night's contest, which served as the first half of a home-and-home set between the two clubs, was the final game in the Flower City between the Amerks and the defending Calder Cup champs as the season series shifts to Coca-Cola Coliseum for a rematch Saturday afternoon.
Despite the regulation loss, Rochester, which has won four of its last seven games, maintains a one-point lead atop the AHL's North Division standings.
Forward Alexander Nylander tallied his ninth goal of the season while goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who has gotten the nod in eight of the last 11 games for the Amerks, saw his four-game win streak halted.
Sam Gagner and Jordan Subban each registered a pair of helpers for Toronto, which has won five of its last six contests, while Michael Carcone and Carl Grundstrom also collected a two-point (1+1) night. Mason Marchment, Jeremy Bracco and Pierre Engvall rounded out the scoring while goaltender Eamon McAdam earned his second consecutive win as he stopped 29 of 30 shots he faced.
Five minutes after knotting the score at 1-1 midway through the second period, the Amerks were stopped for three straight penalties, which included a 5-on-3 two man-advantage for the Marlies for 1:45.
Rochester killed off its first of the two infractions, but Marchment scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 15:29 mark of the second period with 11 seconds remaining on the final penalty.
"It was a tough one," said forward Scott Wilson, who made his season and Amerks debut after being reassigned by the parent Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. "They had five other ones (power-plays) during the night, but one positive we can take is I thought we did a great job on the first kill and overall it was a pretty good effort by everybody."
Prior to the end of the middle frame, Grundstrom picked up a drop-pass inside the offensive zone. While using an Amerk defender as a screen in front of Wedgewood, Grundstrom quickly fired a shot past the blocker of the netminder to double the Marlies lead.
Facing a two-goal deficit, the Amerks, who entered the weekend leading the AHL with a 5-9-0-0 record when trailing after 40 minutes, hoped for some third-period magic. However, Toronto extended its lead to a three-goal cushion 3:14 into the final frame on Carcone's tally.
The Marlies later capped off the scoring on the night at the 12:16 mark of the period on a cross-ice feed from Stefan Leblanc.
"It's disappointing," Amerks head coach Chris Taylor said. "I thought we had a good first period but obviously the 5-on-3 hurt us. Then a few missed assignments and we seemed to have nothing left, which is disappointing against a team behind us in the standings and a divisional rival."
After a scoreless first period, the two clubs combined to score four goals in the second period, which included Nylander's power-play tip from Danny O'Regan and Brendan Guhle. The goal with the man-advantage is Rochester's 13th in the last 10 games while on the power-play.
"We had a good first period," said Amerks captain Kevin Porter, who returned to the lineup after missing the last 13 games. "We started to turn the pucks over and they seem to capitalized on them. We had some 2-on-1's that turned into breakaways and Wedgewood made some big saves but there were too many opportunities against."
Following a quick turnaround, the Amerks and Marlies face-off for the second time in less than 24 hours as the home-and-home series shifts north of the border to Coca-Cola Coliseum on Saturday, Jan. 12 at 4:00 p.m. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader AM 950/95.7 FM ESPN Rochester as well as AHLTV.
ROC: Nylander (9)
TOR: Engvall (9), Marchment (10 - GWG), Grundstrom (11), Carcone (11), Bracco (8)
ROC: Wedgewood - 17/22 (L)
TOR: McAdam - 29/30 (W)
ROC: PP (1/4) | PK (3/4)
TOR: PP (1/4)| PK (3/4)
1. Carl Grundstrom ()
2. Michael Carcone ()
3. Sam Gagner ()
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