(Buffalo, NY) … The Rochester Americans took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission, along with a 27-5 shot advantage over the Toronto Marlies, and closed out the contest with a 3-2 victory in the first of back-to-back meetings against their North Division rival Friday night at LECOM Harborcenter in downtown Buffalo.
Amerks forwards C.J. Smith, Jarrett Burton and Pascal Aquin all found the back of the net for Rochester while defenseman Tobie Bisson added a game-high two assists in the victory. Goaltender Jonas Johansson, who made 16 saves last night in the preseason opener, stopped 12 of 14 shots he faced tonight to earn the win.
WATCH: GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Sergei Sapego and Tanner MacMaster both scored for the Marlies while netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo made 32 saves but was dealt with the loss in his first action of the preseason.
Following a scoreless first period where Rochester carried a 12-3 lead in shots, the Amerks tallied a pair of markers during the middle stanza and took a 2-0 lead at the 11:19 mark.
Moments after Andrew Oglevie’s breakaway chance was denied by Kaskisuo, Smith caromed a loose puck behind the Marlies goaltender and quickly stepped out of the blue paint before roofing a shot under the crossbar to open the scoring.
WATCH: CHRIS TAYLOR POST-GAME
“C.J. has such high-end skill,” said Amerks head coach Chris Taylor about his third-year winger. “I think he’s a bit upset about being down with us so early, but I think it’s making him a better player. He is working on his game and I thought he played very well tonight.”
Justin Baudry, who had the lone goal for Rochester last night, and Bisson were awarded the helpers on the goal just 4:58 into the second period.
“C.J. got us going as he made a great play from behind the net,” said Burton. “Randy (Tyler Randell) then made a good shot in the middle and I was lucky enough to find the rebound.”
WATCH: JARRETT BURTON POST-GAME
Later in the middle frame, Burton recovered the puck in the slot after Bisson fired it on the cage and the fifth-year forward patiently waited until Kaskisuo was down and went under the bar to give Rochester a 2-0 lead.
“Last night, a lot of guys had not been in a game setting in a while and it helped knock off the rust,” Smith explained as the biggest difference last night compared to tonight’s game. “There were little things that they cleaned up and we had a better result tonight.”
Toronto, despite being heavily outshot 27-5 through the first 40 minutes of play, trimmed the Amerks’ lead in half as Sapego scored 3:35 into the final period. The Amerks, however, regained their two-goal cushion on the ensuing shift as Brandon Hickey fired a shot from the left point in the offensive zone towards the net. Hickey’s initial shot was flagged down by John Wiitala and the puck snuck between the goaltender’s pads before being tapped in by Aquin.
WATCH: C.J. SMITH POST-GAME
The Marlies did not leave LECOM Harborcenter without one final push as MacMaster made it a one-goal game with 8:19 left the third period, but Johansson was flawless the rest of the way in preserving the 3-2 win for Rochester.
The Amerks conclude their 2019 preseason schedule on Sunday evening as the home-and-home series with the Marlies shifts north of the border for one final tune-up at the Ray Twinney Complex in Newmarket. Puck drop is set for 4:00 p.m.
ROC: C.J. Smith, J. Burton, P. Aquin (GWG)
TOR: S. Sapego, T. MacMaster
ROC: J. Johansson – 12/14 (W)
TOR: K. Kaskisuo – 32/35 (L)
ROC: PP (0/1) | PK (3/3)
TOR: PP (0/3) | PK (1/1)
1. C.J. Smith (ROC)
2. J. Burton (ROC)
3. T. MacMaster (TOR)