ROCHESTER, NY --- Former Amerk Mike Kostka scored the first goal of the game and the shootout deciding goal, as the Toronto Marlies handed the Rochester Americans a 4-3 shootout loss at The Blue Cross Arena on Saturday night. It was the fourth meeting in 16 days between the two clubs, and Toronto improved to a perfect 5-0-0-0 against Rochester this season. Despite the loss, the Amerks picked up five of a possible six points during a stretch of three games in five nights this week.
It was a back-and-forth affair that featured three goals in the final five minutes of the contest. Marcus Foligno scored the go-ahead goal for Rochester with 2:13 to play in regulation, but Toronto’s Matt Frattin would tie things up with just 10 seconds left to force overtime. Frattin would also score an insurance goal in the shootout.
Toronto nemtinder Ben Scrivens stopped 22 of 25 shots he faced before denying all four Rochester shooters in the shootout. David Leggio turned aside 24 Toronto shots in his first shootout loss of the season.
Luke Adam and Mark Pysyk also scored in regulation for the Amerks. Adam has now scored a goal in each of his last four games, becoming the first Amerks player this season to record a goal in four consecutive outings.
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The Marlies jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Kostka scored just 3:17 into the contest to put the visitors ahead. With the Amerks facing a delayed penalty, Mike Zigomanis picked up a loose puck along the right wing boards and slid a pass to the point to Kostka, who fired a quick shot from the blueline through traffic for his fourth goal of the season.
The Amerks tied the game three minutes into the second period as Adam put away a rebound from T.J. Brennan. Brennan’s shot from the blueline caromed off Scrivens, but Adam swatted the puck out of midair to make it a 1-1 game.
The Marlies responded with their second goal of the night at 9:06 of the second period with a goal from Will Acton. Greg McKegg took a pass on the left wing boards and made a centering pass to Acton at the point, where he unleashed a quick shot past Leggio for a 2-1 Toronto advantage.
Rochester battled back again with less than five minutes left in the final frame as Pysyk picked the top right corner with his second goal of the season. As Kevin Porter skated into the attacking zone, he attempted to make a centering pass that was batted down by a Marlies defenseman. However, Pysyk, trailing the play in the high slot, corralled the loose puck and sent it over Scrivens’ right shoulder for the equalizer at 15:33.
Just two minutes later, Pysyk would help set up Foligno’s go-ahead goal that would give Rochester its first lead of the game with 2:13 left to play. Rookie forward Zemgus Girgensons also assisted on the play to make it a 3-2 contest in favor of the Amerks.
Toronto would answer back in the dying seconds, however, as Frattin, who took a shot from the right faceoff circle, gathered his own rebound and put it in the top corner of the net. After a scoreless overtime period, the Marlies went on to win in the shootout, outscoring Rochester 2-0.
The Amerks travel to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 19 as they close out their season series with the Grand Rapids Griffins. The 7 p.m. game will be the final meeting between the two teams this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.