(Toronto, ON) – The Rochester Americans (15-19-0-1) were denied their bid for a fourth straight win Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum, where the host Toronto Marlies scored just over four minutes into the contest and never looked back on their way to a 5-0 win over the Amerks in the first half of a two-game set. The loss snaps a season-high three-game win streak as Rochester suffered its second shutout loss of the season.
Nick Baptiste fired four shots on net to lead all Amerks skaters while Evan Rodrigues registered three but saw his career-best five-game point streak (3+4) end in the defeat. Amerks goaltender Linus Ullmark made his seventh straight start, making 37 saves on 42 attempts in the losing effort to fall to 14-13-1 on the campaign.
Bryon Froese recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season as he scored a pair of goals and also earned an assist in the win for the Marlies. Kerby Rychel, Rinat Valiev and Andreas Johnsson each chipped in with a tally to round out the scoring. Garret Sparks stopped all 24 shots he faced as he earned his second shutout of the slate and improved his record to 5-4-0. The Marlies have blanked five of their opponents this season, which is just one shy of the San Jose Barracuda’s six.
Less than five minutes into the tilt, the Marlies grabbed the early lead when Valiev converted from the right point following an offensive zone face-off. With the Marlies a man down, Froese tied up an Amerks forward after winning the puck back to Valiev before he fired his second goal of the season just inside the right post of Ullmark for a 1-0 Marlies lead. It was the second straight night in which the Amerks allowed a shorthanded goal.
Less than three minutes later in the frame, the Marlies doubled their lead when Rychel found a loose puck in the blue paint and jammed it home to give the hosts team a 2-0 advantage.
The score would remain 2-0 until Froese cushioned Toronto’s lead to three 5:31 into the middle stanza when his intended pass for Brendan Leipsic caromed off the skate of a Rochester defenseman and in.
Froese’s first of the night came just moments prior to the Amerks catching the Marlies in a line change for a two-on-none breakaway opportunity, but Sparks was able make a save to hold the lead.
The Marlies tacked on a pair of markers over the final period before fending off the Amerks attack to preserve the shutout while ending Rochester’s win streak of three games.
The Amerks put the finishing touches on their first three-in-three of the New Year on Sunday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum in a rematch against the Marlies. The 3:00 p.m. matinee can be heard live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
TOR: Valiev (2), Rychel (8), Froese (13, 14), Johnsson (8)
RCH: Ullmark – 37/42 (L)
TOR: Sparks – 24/24 (W)
RCH: PP (0/2) / PK (1/1)
TOR: PP (0/1) / PK (2/2)