|CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME|
|COLIN BLACKWELL POST-GAME|
|HUDSON FASCHING POST-GAME|
|SAHIR GILL POST-GAME|
(Rochester, NY) – The playoff-bound Rochester Americans (35-21-11-6) and the league-leading Toronto Marlies (51-18-2-2) combined for 11 goals, but it was the Amerks who came away with a 6-5 overtime win at The Blue Cross Arena.
Saturday night’s victory was Rochester’s third straight against the Marlies and Amerks’ 29th game that was decided past regulation this season, the most in the American Hockey League since the Milwaukee Admirals did so during the 2006-07 campaign.
With the overtime win, plus a regulation loss by the Utica Comets to the Syracuse Crunch tonight, the Amerks have regained sole possession of third place in the North Division standings with only three games remaining in the regular season.
Colin Blackwell pushed his career-long point streak to seven games as he earned his seventh multi-point (1+2) effort in the last 12 games dating back to Mar.11. Overall his last 12 contests, Blackwell shows 21 points (10+11). Hudson Fasching and Sahir Gill each bagged a pair of goals for Rochester, which has earned at least one point in six of its last seven games, going 5-1-1-0 during that span. Justin Bailey rounded out the scoring while Seth Griffith chipped in two assists to reach the 40-point plateau for the third straight season. Rookie goaltender Jonas Johansson improved to 4-3-0 on the season as he turned aside 30 of 35 shots he faced in what was his fifth straight start.
Forwards Jeremy Bracco (0+3) and Chris Mueller (2+1) each turned a three-point performance for the Marlies, who appeared in their third straight overtime game. Mason Marchment (1+1) and Kyle Baun also recorded multi-point nights while Frederik Gauthier and former Amerk Jean Dupuy scored a goal in the defeat. Netminder Calvin Pickard drew the starting nod for the second consecutive night but was tagged with the overtime loss as he made a season-high 39 saves.
After Fasching tied the game at 5-5 with 1:09 left in regulation that forced overtime, Gill sealed the victory 1:45 into the extra frame with his second of the night and team-best 18th marker of the campaign.
“After Toronto scored a few goals during the third period, we talked on the bench and said this is how playoffs are going to be,” said Blackwell. “We have to win the next shift and I think that is something we did tonight. It attributed to our success to coming back tonight.”
The Amerks jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead just 50 seconds into the contest with Gill’s first of the night, but the Marlies countered with a pair of goals 3:50 apart and took a 2-1 lead into the intermission.
Rochester emerged from the locker room down a goal to begin the sandwich stanza but they responded with the game’s next three goals to retake the lead.
Fasching opened the three-goal second period as he scored his 10th of the season at the 6:16 mark of the period followed by Bailey, who wired his 50th career AHL goal just 58 seconds later. Nearly three minutes later, Blackwell forced a turnover inside the Marlies zone and slipped in his 16th behind Pickard to give the Amerks a 4-2 lead going into the third period.
The Marlies, despite trailing by a pair of goals after 40 minutes, responded with three of their own to take a 5-4 lead with 11:45 left in regulation.
Rochester pushed back as they fired 18 shots during the third period and finally cracked Pickard with 69 seconds left in the contest while Johansson was on the bench for the extra attacker.
With a face-off to the left the Marlies cage, Blackwell won the draw back to Danny O’Regan at the point. The second-year pro ripped a shot on Pickard, who made the initial shot, but Fasching backhanded the rebound under the cross-bar to even the score at 5-5. The assist marked the 100th pro point for O’Regan.
“It was a great play by Blackwell,” said Fasching. “O’Regan had a nice, clean shot and I just went to the crease looking for the rebound. I saw the puck and just whacked at it and that is pretty much it. Creating commotion in front of goaltenders is something I have been working on and I have been trying to take away their vision in the process.”
After forcing overtime, Gill gave Rochester a 6-5 victory as scored the game-winning goal 1:45 into the extra frame from Stuart Percy and Griffith.
“I liked our resiliency tonight,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor. “I thought we had a lot of good chances throughout the game. It was a playoff-style game with a lot of highs and lows, but I thought we played well for the most part, excluding their three goals in the third.”
RCH: Gill (17, 18 – OT GWG), Fasching (10, 11), Bailey (7), Blackwell (16)
TOR: Marchment (11), Mueller (16, 17), Dupuy (3), Gauthier (7)
RCH: Johansson – 30/35 (W)
TOR: Pickard – 39/45 (OTL)
RCH: PP (0/0) | PK (1/1)
TOR: PP (0/1) | PK (0/0)