|CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME|
|PASCAL AQUIN POST-GAME|
|C.J. SMITH POST-GAME|
|WAYNE SIMPSON POST-GAME|
After trailing 2-1 entering the final period of Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Toronto Marlies, the Rochester Americans responded with three third-period goals to come out on top with a 4-2 win at HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo. The game was the first of a home-and-home series between the two teams.
Newcomers Pascal Aquin (2-0) and Wayne Simpson (0-2) posted multi-point performances while the Amerks reigning Rookie of the Year C.J. Smith also chipped in a pair of assists in the victory. Veteran blueliner Nathan Paetsch opened the scoring for Rochester while third-year defenseman Arvin Atwal provided the game-winner later in the final frame. Adam Wilcox made 19 saves in a winning effort in his preseason debut.
Sam Babintsev paced the Marlies offense as he tallied a goal and an assist while Matt Bradley recorded his first of the preseason. Netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo was tagged with the loss as he turned aside 27 of 30.
The Marlies opened the scoring 17 seconds into their first power-play opportunity of the game and took a 1-0 lead into the break. Rochester, however, responded 1:44 into the second stanza as Paetsch lit the lamp from the point while the Amerks were on the man-advantage.
As the middle frame continued, the North Division rivals amped up their physically but Toronto added its final goal of the night to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
“I thought it was a little bit of a slow start, but I liked how they picked it up as the game went on,” said second-year head coach Chris Taylor. “In the third period, we did a lot of great things and I really liked our compete tonight. Guys were physical and getting around the net. ”
Aquin evened the game 3:34 into the third period as he redirected a Tobie Bisson shot past Kaskisuo.
“I was a little nervous at first,” said Aquin, who made his unofficial professional debut. “But after a few shifts I was able to calm down and play my game. I felt more and more confident as the game went on.”
While the Amerks continued to pepper the Marlies netminder, Rochester was rewarded for its strong third period. Atwal, who jumped into the rush from his defensive position, buried the game-winning goal as he found a loose rebound to the right of Kaskisuo after he made the initial save on Smith.
Both Smith and Simpson each were credited with their second assists on the tally with just under six minutes left in regulation.
“It was a weird play how Arvin slid a pass over to me and I just threw a shot on the net,” said Smith. “He was able to finish the play, so it turned out to be a really nice play.”
In an effort to final the equalizer, Toronto pulled Kaskisuo with 1:16 showing on the clock, but Aquin sealed the victory as he deposited the puck into the vacant net from Eric Cornel.
The same two teams meet again on Saturday, Sept. 29 as the home-and-home series shifts north of the border for a 4:00 p.m. matinee at Frank Doherty Arena in Thorold, Ontario. Rochester opens its 63rd AHL season on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7:05 p.m. against the Charlotte Checkers at The Blue Cross Arena.
ROC: Paetsch, Aquin (2), Atwal (GWG)
TOR: Babintsev, Bradley
ROC: Wilcox – 19/21 (W)
TOR: Kaskisuo – 27/30 (L)
ROC: PP (1/3) | PK (1/2)
TOR: PP (1/2) | PK (2/3)