(Toronto, ON) … The Rochester Americans tied an AHL season-high by scoring six times in the third period, including five straight unanswered goals in the final 5:58 of regulation, to come away with a 7-4 win over the league-leading Toronto Marlies to conclude their home-and-home series Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
It was the second time this season the Amerks put up six goals in a single period, matching the same mark they previously set in a 7-6 shootout win over Hershey back on Nov. 3.
Multi-point nights were had by Justin Bailey (2+0), Colin Blackwell (1+1), Sahir Gill (0+2) and former Marlie Stuart Percy (1+1), while Amerks captain Kevin Porter tallied his second three-point night (2+1) of the season. For the second game in a row against his former squad, former AHL All-Star Seth Griffith opened up scoring on the night, and Adam Wilcox stopped 24 of 28 shots he faced in his first appearance against Toronto this season to improve to 9-4-6.
Toronto’s Miro Aaltonen notched his third multi-point night in the last five games, while Ben Smith, Chris Mueller and Mason Marchment all tallied goals for the Marlies, who saw their four-game win streak over Rochester snapped. Calvin Pickard made 25 saves in the loss.
As he did last night against his former squad, Griffith opened scoring after an offensive zone turnover by the Marlies. Calle Rosen’s shot missed wide of the net and caromed up the boards to the neutral zone, where it was corralled by Blackwell at center ice. With the Amerks facing a two-on-one opportunity, Blackwell grabbed the loose puck and sent a cross-ice pass to Griffith, who outwaited Pickard before lifting a shot just under the crossbar to put Rochester ahead 1-0.
The goal came less than five minutes into the second period following a scoreless opening frame.
A few minutes later, the Amerks attempted to clear the puck but it was intercepted by Aaltonen, resulting in a scramble in front of Rochester’s net. Rosen unloaded a quick shot from the left point that was redirected in by Smith for his 21st goal of the season.
The Marlies would gain their first lead of the game with just over three minutes remaining in the middle frame when Andreas Johnsson poked the puck backwards to Aaltonen and he flew down the ice for a breakaway to put the hosts up 2-1. The goal was Aaltonen’s 15th point in the last 10 games.
The Marlies widened the gap with one minute left in the second when Andreas Borgman passed the puck to Kerby Rychel, who was stationed behind Wilcox’s net. Rychel then wrapped the puck around to a waiting Mueller, who squeezed it into the back of the net, giving the Marlies the 3-1 lead heading into the final period of play.
The Amerks made it a one-goal game 5:11 into the third period when Percy skated inside the face-off circle and fired a shot past Pickard, only to have the Marlies respond with another goal from Marchment to reclaim their two-goal advantage at 8:45.
With six minutes remaining and down two goals, Kyle Criscuolo took a shot from the point, which was tipped by Blackwell and into the net, again trimming the Marlies lead to one and igniting a five-goal run for Rochester.
The Amerks tied the game with 3:08 to play thanks to a fortuitous bounce off Alexander Nylander’s bid from the high slot. Nylander weaved his way through center ice and across the blueline before stepping into a shot at the top of the right circle that was knocked down by the Toronto defense. The rebound was immediately picked up by Sean Malone, however, and the rookie forward whipped it into the upper right corner to make it a 4-4 game.
Porter put the Amerks ahead for good just 50 seconds later after scooping up a Taylor Fedun rebound from just off the right post. Fedun’s initial bid from the point pinballed through the crease until Porter was able to locate the puck amidst the ensuring goal-mouth scramble and chip it over Pickard for a 5-4 Rochester lead.
Bailey, coming off a two-point effort last night against the Marlies, sealed the win for Rochester with back-to-back goals in the final 1:19, the second of which came with one second to spare in the third-period clock.
The Amerks return home on Wednesday Feb. 28 as they conclude the month with a matchup against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. tilt will be broadcast live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Griffith (13), Percy (5), Blackwell (6), Malone (7), Porter (14), Bailey (4, 5)
TOR: Smith (21), Aaltonen (15), Marchment (8), Mueller (13)
RCH: Wilcox – 24/28 (W)
TOR: Pickard – 25/31 (L)
RCH: PP (0/3) | PK (2/2)
TOR: PP (0/2) | PK (3/3)