(Toronto, ON) – The Rochester Americans (17-21-0-1) received a pair of familiar faces prior to Saturday’s game with the Toronto Marlies (15-19-2-1) at Ricoh Coliseum and both made major contributions after being reassigned earlier in the day to help lead the Amerks to a 3-2 win to kick-off a season-long four-game road swing.
After rejoining the Amerks from the Buffalo Sabres, Justin Bailey recorded his eighth multi-point night as he notched a goal and an assist while goaltender Linus Ullmark made 37 saves to record the win. The victory is his 15th of the campaign and his fourth in his last five starts for Rochester. Ullmark, who served in a back-up role during his most recent call-up to the big club, is now tied for third in the AHL in wins with a record of 15-13-1 and boasts a 7-3-0-0 record over his last 10 games. Rookie defensemen Casey Nelson and second-year forward Jean Dupuy rounded off the scoring for the Amerks.
Marlies first-year blueliner Travis Dermott gathered a pair of assists for the third time of the season while Brendan Leipsic picked his team-leading 35th and 36th points (1+1) in the defeat. Colin Greening bagged his sixth goal of the season to open the scoring while Antoine Bibeau made 27 saves.
After emerging from the first intermission down a goal, the Amerks tied the score early in the second period thanks to a Nelson shot 2:51 into the stanza. With the puck in the offensive zone, Tim Kennedy tucked behind the Toronto net and connected with Nelson, who then fired a blast from atop the left circle to beat Bibeau and bring the score to 1-1. The marker was the rookie’s fourth of the season.
Later in the frame, Bailey intercepted an errant pass near the top of the Marlies zone, and after taking a few strides, he sniped his 14th goal of the season for Rochester with 4:46 left in the period. The unassisted tally extended his goal streak to five straight games dating back to Dec. 17 and also pushed his career-long point streak (6+3) to six games.
With the score showing 2-1 in favor of Rochester to begin the final period, the two teams, playing their third head-to-head matchup in the last seven days, traded scoring chances, but both goalies stood tall until the Amerks forced another turnover inside the offensive zone.
As the Marlies emerged with the puck from behind their own cage, Dan Catenacci was able to pick the pocket of a Toronto defenseman thanks to an aggressive forecheck, forcing a turnover just inside the blueline. Similar to his tally in the middle frame, Bailey found the loose puck but this time sent a cross-crease pass to Dupuy, who buried the eventual game-winning goal with 4:50 left in the contest. The goal was Dupuy’s first since Apr. 16 of last season after missing the first 30 games of this season with an injury.
The Marlies, however, made things interesting following the Dupuy tally as they pulled Bibeau for the extra attacker with just over 4:30 left in regulation. Toronto capitalized with the extra skater to make the score 3-2 when Leipsic found the back of the cage just 29 seconds later. Bibeau would remain on the bench for the final minutes of regulation, but it would be as close as the Marlies would get as the Amerks held for their fifth win in six games against Toronto this season.
The Amerks continue their season-long four-game road swing on Friday, Jan. 20 as they close out their season series with the Providence Bruins at Dunkin Donuts Center. Following Friday night’s 7:05 p.m. matchup, the Amerks will wrap up their three-game trek through the Atlantic Division with stops in Hartford on Saturday and Bridgeport Sunday afternoon. All of the action will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Nelson (4), Bailey (14), Dupuy (1)
TOR: Greening (6), Leipsic (11)
RCH: Ullmark – 37/39 (W)
TOR: Bibeau – 27/30 (L)
RCH: PP (0/2) / PK (4/4)
WBS: PP (0/4) / PK (2/2)