|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|NICK BAPTISTE POST-GAME|
|CAL O'REILLY POST-GAME|
|LINUS ULLMARK POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (9-11-0-1) used another quick 2-0 lead before the end of the first period and then held on for a 3-2 victory over the North Division rival Toronto Marlies (10-7-1-1) at The Blue Cross Arena Friday night.
Cal O’Reilly led the Amerks attack as he registered his second consecutive multi-point outing (1+1) and seventh of the season. Nick Baptiste netted his team-best 10th goal of the campaign in just his 13 contest of the year with the Amerks before adding a helper on O’Reilly’s game-winning goal. Goaltender Linus Ullmark improved his record to 8-7-1 as he stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced and Cole Schneider found the back of the net for the second straight game to round out the scoring.
Viktor Loov scored his first goal of the season during the second period and Andrew Nielsen bagged his fifth. Making his second start of the campaign, goalie Jeff Glass made 22 saves out of the 25.
The Amerks grabbed a quick 1-0 lead just 67 seconds into the tilt as Schneider scored his ninth of the season. O’Reilly stripped a Marlies defensemen in the offensive zone as he tucked behind the cage, drawing the attention of the Toronto defensemen. The Rochester captain slipped a pass to Schneider as he was on the doorstep for the redirect.
“It was very important to get a lead against a team like Toronto,” said Amerks head coach Dan Lambert. “It was big because lately we have not had the best of luck in the last few weeks when we have fallen behind.”
Later in the opening period and the Amerks on the power-play, the home team doubled their lead when Baptiste found the back of the night as he scored his team-high 10th goal of the season fifth goal of the season on the man-advantage.
Skating down the far wall into the offensive zone with the puck, Alexander Nylander hit Eric Cornel in the middle of the faceoff dots. Cornel made it look like he was going to fire a shot on the net, but found Baptiste sneaking in the backdoor for a tap-in to the empty net. Nylander and Cornel each got credit on the marker at 11:06.
“We are focused and we are really executing on the power-play lately,” said Baptiste. “Both of units have been good, and despite the success we have lately, we know we still can be better.”
Down by a pair of tallies to begin the middle frame, the Marlies cut the deficit to make it a 2-1 game 1:53 into the period.
The Marlies had an opportunity to even the game when the Amerks took two penalties in succession, but Rochester was able to kill off the 5-on-3 man-advantage for Toronto.
“I thought out penalty kill unit was big during that period,” said Lambert. “Usually during a 5-on-3 situation, your biggest penalty-killer is your goaltender and that was true tonight with Linus.”
The pair of North Division foes entered the intermission break after 40 minutes of play with the Amerks ahead 2-1.
Less than five minutes into the final period, Amerks defenseman Brady Austin fired a heavy slap-shot on net from just inside the blueline. After Glass was unable to corral the rebound, O’Reilly scooped up the rebound and pushed the puck into the net to give the Amerks the lead for good with 15:33 left in regulation.
The assist by Austin was his first point of the campaign as he and Baptiste each picked up the helpers.
Late in the period down by two goals, the Marlies pulled Glass in an attempt to even the game with under three minutes to go. With the extra attacker on the ice, Nielsen ripped a shot from the point as Ullmark was screened by multiple bodies and found the back of the cage, but it was too little, too late as the Amerks held on for the second straight victory.
The Amerks embark on a season-long four-game road trip on Saturday, Dec. 3 when they visit the Syracuse Crunch for the fifth meeting of the season between the two teams at the War Memorial Arena. The North Division showdown begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Schneider (9), Baptiste (10), O’Reilly (5)
TOR: Loov (1), Nielsen (5)
RCH: Ullmark – 33/35 (W)
TOR: Glass – 22/25 (L)
RCH: PP (1/7) / PK (4/4)
TOR: PP (0/4) / PK (6/7)