AMERKS PUSH WIN STREAK TO SIX GAMES
Comrie makes 34 saves in Amerks debut as Rochester closes out 2022 with 3-2 win over MarliesDec 31, 2022
The Rochester Americans (16-9-1-1) closed out the 2022 calendar year by extending their win streak to a season-long six-straight games with a 3-2 win over the first-place Toronto Marlies (19-9-1-1) Saturday afternoon at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
It’s the team’s best stretch since a six-game win streak from Jan. 22 to Feb. 5 during the 2019-20 campaign.
The win, Rochester’s second straight this month over the Marlies, moves the Amerks to within four points of Toronto for the top spot in the American Hockey League’s North Division standings. Additionally, the Amerks have earned wins in four of the last six games north of the border dating back to last season and over the last five years show a 10-5-0-0 record in Toronto.
Amerks captain Michael Mersch (1+1) extended his goal-scoring streak to four-straight games in addition to adding an assist while third-year pro Brandon Biro (0+1) pushed his point streak to seven games. He closed out the month of December with a team-high 17 points (7+10) in 10 games and led the team with seven multi-point outings, including six straight between Dec. 9 and Dec. 30. He was only held scoreless once during the month.
Forwards Linus Weissbach (1+0) and Lukas Rousek (1+0) rounded out the scoring, with Rousek finding the back of the net for the fifth time in seven games, while rookie forwards Filip Cederqvist (0+1) and Tyson Kozak (0+1) each recorded an assist.
Goaltender Eric Comrie (1-0-0) made 34 saves in his Amerks debut after being loaned to Rochester earlier in the day on a conditioning assignment from the parent Buffalo Sabres. Comrie, who posted a 4-7-0 record in 11 appearances with Buffalo to begin the 2022-23 season, picked up his first AHL win since April 21, 2021 with Manitoba.
Dating back to that season, Comrie is 4-0-1 in his last five AHL appearances with a 1.38 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage while never allowing more than two goals over that span.
Toronto forwards Graham Slaggert (1+0) and Bobby McMann (1+0) tallied the Marlies markers on the day, while defenseman Noel Hoefenmarer (0+1) and forwards Kyle Clifford (0+1) and Alex Steeves (0+1) all added an assist. Erik Källgren (1-3-1) was tagged with the loss in his sixth appearance in the crease for Toronto while stopping 10 of the 13 shots he faced.
Rochester opened the scoring just 3:26 into the contest with Rousek’s ninth of the season.
After gaining the Toronto blueline on a rush through the neutral zone, Rousek left the puck for Biro, who made a dash toward the net. Biro eluded a Toronto defender before shoveling a pass back to Rousek for a quick one-timer past Källgren to give the Amerks an early 1-0 lead they woud carry into the intermission.
Slaggert evened the score at the 12:27 mark of the second period, but the Amerks were quick to answer as Weissbach capitalized on a rebound just 23 seconds later to put Rochester ahead 2-1.
Cederqvist picked up a Toronto turnover in the neutral zone and skated the puck into Amerks offensive territory. The Amerks rookie then sent a cross-ice pass to Mersch, who unleashed a shot towards the Marlies net. While Källgren stopped Mersch’s initial shot, Weissbach gathered the rebound and made good on the second opportunity for his 11th of the season.
At the 13:43 mark in the third period, the Amerks pulled ahead with their largest lead of the night.
A face-off win by Kozak to the right of the Marlies net ended up in skates before Mersch dug it out and lifted a shot that handcuffed an unsuspecting Källgren. The Amerks captain now has goals in four straight games and the game-winner in back-to-back nights.
Toronto managed to cut the deficit in half midway through the final frame, but Comrie and the Amerks buckled down on defense to hang on for the 3-2 win and close out 2022 on a six-game win streak.
The Amerks ring in the New Year on with a rematch against the Belleville Senators on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at The Blue Cross Arena. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start and will be carried on The Sports Leader 95.7 FM/950 AM The Fan Rochester as well as AHLTV.
Michael Mersch recorded a goal for the fourth-straight game, marking his longest goal streak of the season ... While Brandon Biro’s impressive run of six straight multi-point efforts came to an end, his assist on Lukas Rousek’s first-period marker pushed his point streak to seven-straight games for the longest of his pro career ... Eric Comrie, who was loaned to Rochester earlier today on a conditioning assignment, appeared in his first game in the AHL since Apr. 27, 2021 with the Manitoba Moose.
TOR: G. Slaggert (5), B. McMann (5)
ROC: Rousek (9), Weissbach (11), Mersch (5)
TOR: E. Källgren– 10/13 (L)
ROC: E. Comrie – 34/36 (W)
TOR: PP (0/3) | PK (0/2)
ROC: PP (2/2) | PK (3/3)
1. ROC – E. Comrie
2. ROC - M. Mersch
3. TOR – B. McMann