AMERKS COMPLETE SWEEP OF MARLIES, ADVANCE TO EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
Kulich scores for the sixth straight game as Rochester takes down top-seeded TorontoMay 18, 2023
The Rochester Americans (6-2) tallied a power-play goal in each period and had six different players record multiple points as they doubled up the Toronto Marlies (3-4) by an 8-4 score in Game 3 of the North Division Finals Wednesday night at The Blue Cross Arena.
With the win, Rochester, who swept the top-seeded Marlies 3-0 for the first time in franchise history, moves on to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2004. Since Game 3 of their previous series with the Syracuse Crunch, the Amerks have won six straight games.
Lukas Rousek finished with a game-high four points (1+3) while Jiri Kulich (1+2), Mason Jobst (0+2) and Brendan Warren (0+2) all notched a pair of assists. Isak Rosen (2+0) tallied his first-career multi-goal outing of the playoffs. Ethan Prow (1+1), Kohen Olischefski (1+0), Matt Bartkowski (1+0) and Brett Murray (1+0) each scored one goal in the win. Jeremy Davies, Sean Malone, Lawrence Pilut, Tyson Kozak and Zach Metsa completed the scoring as they all were credited with an assist.
Goaltender Malcolm Subban (6-2) made 34 saves in his eighth straight appearance of the playoffs. The Toronto, Ontario, native’s six wins are tied for second-most in the AHL while he ranks second in saves (252).
Pontus Holmberg (3+1) scored a hat trick to go with an assist while Kyle Clifford (0+2) notched a pair of assists for Toronto, who entered the series with a 9-0 record all-time in the playoffs versus Rochester. Rookie defenseman Topi Niemelä rounded out the scoring as he added a goal in the third period.
Joseph Woll (0-1) made 28 saves in his AHL postseason debut after being reassigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs following their exit from the NHL Playoffs over the weekend. The netminder posted a 16-4-1 record during the regular season with the Marlies.
Holding a 5-3 lead to start the final 20 minutes of regulation, Kozak flagged down Malone’s clearing attempt out of Rochester’s zone following an icing violation.
The rookie grabbed the puck along the boards and centered it for Jobst, who joined the rush as he stepped on the ice. Jobst skated towards the left of Woll and fired a shot-pass for Rosen in-front of the netminder to put the Amerks ahead 6-3 at the 9:45 mark.
The Marlies cut into the deficit as Niemelä scored with just over six minutes to play in the frame.
Rochester responded nearly a minute later as they drew a high-sticking infraction.
Prior to the end of the penalty, Kulich slid a one-time feed for Prow in the center of the ice. As the veteran defenseman’s blast reached the net, Murray steered it in behind the goaltender.
In one final last-ditch effort, Woll was summoned to the bench for an extra attacker but Bartkowski sealed the 8-4 win.
While Toronto scored in the first minute of the first period, the Amerks responded with three markers in a span of 6:02 to grab a 3-1 advantage.
On the first of the three, Warren entered the zone with speed then tucked along the right side of the ice before leaving it for Rousek atop the point. Rousek took a stride towards the center of the ice then left it for Prow to wire inside the left post to even the score at the 3:05 mark.
Three minutes later, Metsa provided Warren with an outlet pass in stride as he sprinted into the offensive zone. The forward moved the puck to Olischefski, who backhanded a shot in-between the legs of Woll.
To close out the three-goal run, Rochester capitalized on its first power-play of the contest as Rousek hammered home Jobst’s centering feed with 10 minutes to play in the frame.
The teams went to the intermission break before each scoring twice in the middle period to make it a 5-3 score after 40 minutes.
Kulich and Rosen scored Rochester’s goals in the second period while Holmberg provided all the offense for Toronto.
Rosen pushed the Amerks lead to 6-3 midway through the third period before Murray and Bartkowski capped off the scoring.
The Amerks open the fourth round of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs on Tuesday May 23 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hershey Bears at GIANT Center. Opening puck-drop in the best-of-seven series is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be carried live on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHL TV.
The Amerks finished the series going 7-for-11 on the power-play, including 3-for-3 with the man-advantage tonight … Rochester has scored at least one power-play goal in six straight games and has gone 12-for-29 on the power-play through its first eight games of the postseason, good for a 41.4% success rate that is tops in the league among remaining teams … Tonight marked the first playoff series win by the Amerks on home ice since defeating Hamilton in the Division Finals in 2004 and the first time Rochester swept an opponent since eliminating Hamilton in the opening round of the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs.
TOR: P. Holmberg (4,5,6), T. Niemelä (2)
ROC: E. Prow (1), K. Olischefski (2), L. Rousek (2), J. Kulich (6), I. Rosen (3,4), B. Murray (3), M. Bartkowski (1)
TOR: J. Woll – 28/35 (L)
ROC: M. Subban – 34/38 (W)
TOR: PP (1/2) | PK (0/3)
ROC: PP (3/3) | PK (1/2)