For the second straight day, the Rochester Americans needed more than 60 minutes to decide a hockey game and, for the second game in a row, lost in extra time while gaining a point. After a shootout loss to Hamilton on Friday night, the Amerks went to Toronto and suffered a 5-4 overtime defeat to the Marlies.
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Despite the loss, Rochester has now gained at least a point in five consecutive outings, going 3-0-1-1 (8 points) in that span, and are tied atop the North Division standings.
The Amerks looked to have the game in hand with a late 4-2 lead until Toronto scored twice in the final 1:33 of the third period to force overtime. Toronto’s Ryan Hamilton scored to make it a 4-3 game with the Marlies on a 6-on-4 power play. Then, with the goalie still pulled, Darryl Boyce tied the game at 4-4 with just 59 seconds remaining in regulation. Joe Colborne then won it for the Marlies when he knocked a rebound past Amerks netminder David Leggio to complete the comeback.
Derek Whitmore scored two goals for the Amerks while Leggio stopped 26 of the 31 shots he faced. Travis Turnbull and Mark Voakes each collected two assists in the loss.
The Amerks got on the board early when Derek Whitmore deposited a rebound just 51 seconds into the game. Zack Kassian took the initial shot and Whitmore was able to knock the loose puck past Toronto netminder Ben Scrivens. Kassian and Voakes each collected an assist on the goal.
For both Whitmore and Kassian, it was the second point in as many games as each player tallied an assist on Friday night. The assist also gave Kassian his seventh point in as many games, continuing his point-per-game pace early on in the season. Kassian almost scored minutes later when his breakaway attempt was turned aside by Scrivens.
Toronto evened up the score at 11:04 of the first period when Joey Crabb found room in the slot to load up and fire a wrist shot past Leggio for his team-leading fourth goal of the season. The 1-1 tie was short-lived, however, as the Amerks struck back just 23 seconds later when Travis Turnbull feathered a pass to Corey Tropp, who converted for his third goal in the last two games.
Turnbull set up Rochester’s third goal midway through the second period when he gathered a loose puck in the neutral zone and advanced it up ice to Lagace. Turnbull was able to maintain his composure enough to get the puck to his teammate while absorbing a big open-ice hit from a Toronto forechecker. Lagace took the puck to the net and pulled it from his forehand to his backhand to elude a defender and slipped it past Scrivens, giving the Amerks a 3-1 lead. The goal was Lagace’s third of the season.
The Marlies pulled within one with under two minutes remaining in the second period on a goal by Kelsey Wilson. Mike Zigomanis carried the puck into the Rochester zone and curled toward the boards when he reached the left face-off circle. He found Wilson trailing, and Wilson beat Leggio to the stick side to make it a 3-2 game heading into the final frame.
Derek Whitmore then brought the Amerks’ lead to two goals once again early in the third period. With several players battling for the puck behind the Toronto net, Whitmore was able to dig it out and walk it out in front of the net, where he beat Scrivens up high with a shot from the top of the crease for his second goal of the game. Voakes picked up the lone assist on the goal for his second point of the afternoon.
There would be no more scoring until the closing minutes of the third period when Toronto scored twice in 34 seconds to erase the two-goal deficit and force overtime. Colborne then scored the game-winner at 2:28 of the extra frame on assists from Jesse Blacker and Crabb.
The Amerks return to action on Sunday when they host the Adirondack Phantoms at 6:05 at The Blue Cross Arena. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet and broadcast on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.