|DAN LAMBERT POST-GAME|
|NICK BAPTISTE POST-GAME|
|DAN CATENACCI POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans (10-15-0-1) hosted the Toronto Marlies (12-11-1-1) at The Blue Cross Arena Wednesday for the third time this season and for the third straight time, the Amerks came away with the win. Second-year forward Nick Baptiste scored the first Amerks hat-trick on home ice since Matt Ellis against the Lake Erie (Cleveland) Monsters on Oct. 9, 2015.
The Amerks were led by Baptiste’s three-goal outing for his first professional hat-trick and Cole Schneider picked up three assists on the night for his team-leading eighth multi-point effort. Kyle Bonis rounded out the scoring for the Amerks as he netted his third tally of the season. Mike Aviani, Cal O’Reilly and Vaclav Karabacek, called up from the Elmira Jackals earlier today, all registered assists in the contest. Goaltender Linus Ullmark made 15 saves on 17 shots, before to leaving the game with an injury, but earned his ninth win of the slate to improve to 9-10-1 while also helping Rochester snap its four-game skid.
Kerby Rychel collected a pair of assists for his third multi-point game of the campaign for while Kasperi Kapanen and Tobias Lindberg each scored in the defeat for the Marlies. Toronto’s netminder, Karri Ramo, made 30 saves in just his third start of the season.
With the score 3-2 to begin the final period of play, the Amerks emerged from the dressing rooms looking to limit the high-powered Marlies off the scoresheet. Baptiste pushed the Amerks ahead by pair of tallies when he backhanded a shot past Ramo with 11:41 left in regulation.
“My linemates (Schneider and O’Reilly) played great tonight,” said Baptiste. “They got me the puck while I just went to the net and good things happened. I just played my normal game and got pucks to the net and it was nice to get the hat-trick.”
The Amerks and Baptiste got on the board first less than five minutes into the tilt when Schneider caused a turnover at the center-ice faceoff circle. He and Baptiste exchanged a give-and-go into the offensive zone before Baptiste fired in his first of the contest.
“Tonight’s win was huge for us,” said head coach Dan Lambert. “It was a big, but it was more important on how we won it tonight and that was good for us. I thought we battled for the full 60 minutes and we did not get down on ourselves when things did not go the way we had liked them to go, but we responded the right way. We stuck to our game plan and I thought we did a great job limiting their chances by taking away their time and space.”
The two clubs traded scoring chances over the period but when the first horn sounded, the Amerks were leading by a tally.
After being held off the scoresheet for last 13 games, Catenacci found the back net when he beat Ramo just inside the right face-off zone to give the Amerks a 2-0 lead at the 8:24 mark of the second period.
“It felt really good to score,” said Catenacci. “This season, I have struggled a little bit in the offensive categories, but I have been working hard to get better, and over the last couple games I have been close, so it felt good to get a goal after a tough stretch.”
The Marlies appeared to gather some momentum when Lindberg lit the lamp then only to have the Amerks regain control of the game as Bonis scored his third goal of the season less than three minutes later to make it 3-1.
Before the conclusion of middle stanza, Kapanen scored his team-leading 13th goal of the slate as he beat Ullmark from the right face-off circle to bring the game to a 3-2 score.
Late in the third period, in attempt to begin a comeback, the Marlies pulled Ramo but Baptiste ended any hope as he tapped in his third goal of the night into a vacant cage with one second to spare on the clock as Rochester claimed its second straight win on home ice.
The Amerks hit the road for the last time before their Christmas break as they travel to Mohegan Sun Arena to face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at 7:05 p.m. Friday night. Following Friday’s exchange with the Penguins, the Amerks return home on Saturday to begin a season-long five-game homestand that keeps the team on home ice through the end of the month. Tue in live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Baptiste (12, 13, 14), Catenacci (3), Bonis (3)
TOR: Lindberg (4), Kapanen (13)
RCH: Ullmark – 15/17 (W) / Muse – 8/8
TOR: Ramo – 30/34 (L)
RCH: PP (0/4) / PK (2/4)
TOR: PP (2/4) / PK (4/4)