(Toronto, ON) … For the second time in a week, the Rochester Americans (28-15-9-6) left the Ricoh Coliseum victorious after defeating the league-leading Toronto Marlies (39-16-1-1). Newcomer Daniel O’Regan scored his first two goals for Rochester to help lead the Amerks to a 4-1 win Saturday evening.
With the victory, the Amerks, who have earned at least one point in 17 of their last 23 games since Jan. 1, have a 21-point lead on the fifth-place Laval Rocket in the AHL’s North Division standings heading into tomorrow’s 3:05 matinee in Rochester.
O’Regan netted his eighth and ninth goals of the season while Justin Bailey and Zach Redmond rounded out the scoring for Rochester, which remains the only team in the AHL with four regulation losses away from The Blue Cross Arena through 31 games. Goaltender Linus Ullmark made 26 saves to snap a four-game winless streak while improving to 19-11-9 in 40 appearances on the season.
Andreas Johnsson, who was dabbed as the CCM/AHL Player of the Month earlier this week, scored the lone tally for the Marlies, who have lost five of their last six games, while netminder Calvin Pickard stopped 27 of 30 but suffered the loss.
Late in the first period, the Amerks drew the game’s first penalty with 5:28 showing on the clock and holding a 1-0 lead. However, Rochester doubled its lead on a Redmond goal that eventually served as the game-winning tally.
Second-year winger Alexander Nylander circled the Marlies net and centered a pass to Matt Tennyson atop the Amerks blueline. The defenseman, who would pick up his 100th professional assist on the play, spotted Redmond near the left face-off dot. Redmond blasted the one-time set-up to give the Amerks a 2-0 cushion at the 16:12 mark.
Along with Tennyson, Nylander also was credited with the helper and now shows a career-best four-game point (1+3) streak.
The middle stanza appeared it was going to be scoreless but O’Regan changed that thought as he picked the top-right corner of the net with 22 seconds left in the frame.
As Kevin Porter stepped into the offensive zone with the puck, the Amerks team captain blistered a shot towards Pickard, who deflected it to his right. Stuart Percy jumped into the rush and dished a pass to O’Regan from the goal-line. As the second-year pro stepped out from the left of the cage, he spun and fired his first goal as an Amerk while increasing the lead to 3-0 entering the final frame.
With his primary assist, Percy registered his 100th American Hockey League point while, Porter, who was named the game’s third star, picked up his 20th assist of the campaign. Porter has now recorded 20 or more assists in each of his seven AHL seasons with 40-plus games.
The Marlies tried to chip away at the Amerks’ lead when Johnsson scored his team-leading 24th goal of the season just 45 seconds into the third period, but it would be as close as Toronto would get.
After Rochester successfully killed off a double-minor for high-sticking, Toronto pulled Pickard for the extra attacker with just over three minutes, but O’Regan sealed the 4-1 win as he deposited the puck into the vacant net with 2:44 remaining in regulation.
Rochester finished the road portion of the season series at Ricoh Coliseum with a 3-1-0-0 record and outscored the Marlies 13-5 in the four meetings north of the border.
The Amerks will celebrate Youth Hockey Day in Rochester and bring the weekend to a close on Sunday, Mar. 4 when they welcome the Laval Rocket back to The Blue Cross Arena. The 3:05 p.m. contest will be the sixth of eight scheduled meetings between the two teams this season and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM ESPN Rochester.
RCH: Bailey (6), Redmond (11), O’Regan (8, 9)
TOR: Johnsson (24)
RCH: Ullmark– 26/27 (W)
TOR: Pickard– 27/30 (L)
RCH: PP (1/1) | PK (5/5)
TOR: PP (0/5) | PK (0/1)