|CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME|
|KYLE CRISCUOLO POST-GAME|
|CASEY NELSON POST-GAME|
|C.J. SMITH POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The opening game of the 2017 preseason set between the Rochester Americans and Toronto Marlies was scoreless for nearly two-thirds of the contest at the Gene Polisseni Center on the campus of RIT Friday night. However, the Amerks struck twice during the middle period while the Marlies did so in the third before C.J. Smith scored the game-deciding tally with 4:03 left in overtime to give Rochester the 3-2 victory.
In his first game as an Amerk, Smith led all scorers with a game-high two points (1+1) while Hudson Fasching and Kyle Criscuolo each found the net in the opening exhibition game of the preseason slate. Goaltender Adam Wilcox made 13 saves in 40 minutes of action while Jonas Johansson earned the win in 20:58.
Adam Brooks and J.J. Piccinich each led the Marlies offense with a goal apiece while former Amerks netminder Matt Hackett took the loss as he stopped 14 of the 17 shots he faced in 30 minutes of work.
It appeared the Amerks were in position to pick up the victory with less than five minutes left in the third period as they were leading 2-0 but the Marlies scored a pair of goals to force overtime.
Less than a minute into the extra session and the game tied at 2-2, Smith raced into the offensive zone with the puck. The forward fired a shot into the net to give the Amerks a 3-2 overtime decision over the Marlies.
“I felt pretty good coming from Buffalo Sabres training camp,” said Smith. “I think up there I may have been gripping the stick a bit too tightly, but I think tonight I was able to just relax and play my game.”
As the first period horn sounded after the opening 20 minutes, Rochester held a 17-8 shot advantage but was unable to crack Cal Heeter, who was replaced by Hackett at the 9:58 of the second period.
“I believe we started off the game great,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “The first two periods we got a lot of shots on net, I thought we controlled the pace of the game but I think Toronto did a good job of coming out in the third. They were able to take it to us in the third period a little bit but Johansson came up big with a couple timely saves while they got luck on the one goal but I loved our compete level and I loved everything about the game.”
The Amerks came out in the middle period continuing to carry the play when Fasching wristed an innocent shot from the right of the netminder to break the scoreless contest with 6:12 left in the opening period. Sahir Gill earned an assist on the play as he won the draw back to Fasching.
Less than five minutes later, Criscuolo cashed in on a rebound attempt from Smith to give the Amerks a 2-0 lead following the end of two periods of play.
Trailing entering the final frame, the Marlies were able to trim the lead to a one-goal lead with Piccinich’s tally at the 16:12 mark. Toronto decided to pulled Hackett for the extra skater with 68 seconds left to play in regulation. The move proved to be wise as Brooks knotted the game with 1:02 remaining in regulation to force overtime.
Smith, though, capped off the scoring on the night as he picked up his first marker of the preseason just 57 seconds into the extra period.
The Amerks finished the night outshooting the Marlies 40-24 with Rochester’s defensemen accounting for 17 shots, including a team-high eight from Casey Nelson.
“I thought Nelson did a good job getting pucks to the net,” said Taylor when talking about his young defenseman. “I thought Casey did a good job while on the power-play, but I thought he made a lot of sneaky plays while on the man-advantage that helped us out of our own zone. Overall, I thought he played a really good game and it was a good start for him.”
RCH: Fasching (Gill), Criscuolo (Smith), Smith (Nelson) – GWG
TOR: Piccinich (King, Pospisil), Brooks (Paliotta, Timashov)
RCH: Wilcox – 13/13 | Johansson – 9/11 (W)
TOR: Heeter – 23/23 | Hackett – 14/17 (L)
RCH: PP (1/6) / PK (3/4)
TOR: PP (1/4) / PK (5/6)