TORONTO - For the third season in a row, the Toronto Marlies got off on the right foot.
The Toronto Marlies kicked off the American Hockey League season with a convincing 4-1 victory over the Rochester Americans on Saturday night.
"Obviously everybody wants to start the season with a win, especially in front of the home fans," said Marlies coach Greg Gilbert. "I think the guys worked hard, we did a lot of good things right from the goaltending on out."
Colin Murphy, Jeremy Williams, Alex Foster and Derrick Walser scored for the Marlies (1-0-0) in front of 4,777 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Forward Adam Taylor replied for the Americans (1-1-0).
Toronto netminder Scott Clemmensen, making his Marlies debut after three seasons in the NHL backing up New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, delivered a solid performance in stopping 25 of 26 shots.
"It felt all right," said Clemmensen. "I'm still a little rusty out there and getting used to playing 60 minutes again after not having a lot of playing time the past couple of years. I'm trying to relearn my game a little bit."
At the other end, Rochester's Adam Dennis made 32 saves on 36 shots.
Toronto was 0-for-3 on the power play, while Rochester went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
"I thought we played great overall," Clemmensen said.
"We had a couple breakdowns here and there, but . . . when they seemed to respond to us we would pick it up a notch, which was good because it's the first game and you're kind of feeling out your teammates and all that.
"I thought the team played really well in front of me . . . it was just a matter of me getting the rust off."
The score was tied 1-1 after the first period before Toronto went up 3-1 through 40 minutes. The Marlies scored two goals on their first three shots of the middle frame to break the tie and take control of the game.
"I think we played in their end most of that game and that really wore them down," Clemmensen said. "You could see it a little bit in the second period when we really took it to them."
In the first period, Rochester's Taylor opened the scoring at 11:44 when he took a pass from linemate Stefan Meyer and fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle over Clemmensen's shoulder.
Murphy tied the game at 1-1. He broke in all alone on Dennis and snapped a wrist shot past the Rochester goalie's outstretched glove.
"It started in the defensive zone," said Murphy on the scoring play. "I got loose on a 2-on-1 and had a nice shot."
Toronto went up 2-1 at 3:21 of the second period when forward Jeremy Williams deposited a rebound past Dennis.
Soon afterward, Gamache centred a pass from behind the net to Foster, who wristed a high shot past Dennis for a short-handed goal at 5:43.
Walser sealed the victory for Toronto in the third when he one-timed a pass from David Ling past Dennis.
Murphy was encouraged by his team's debut.
"I really like the look of our team," he said.
Notes: Don Cherry was on hand to drop the puck for the ceremonial opening faceoff. . . . The Marlies coaching staff named Ben Ondrus the team captain a few days before the start of the regular season. Marc Moro, Toronto's longtime captain, retired during the summer. . . . Rochester is an affiliate of two NHL teams, the Buffalo Sabres and the Florida Panthers.