Ryan Hamilton scored a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner midway through the first period, to help the defending Western Conference champion Toronto Marlies defeat the Rochester Americans 3-1 Saturday night at Ricoh Coliseum. With the loss, the Amerks fall to 1-1-0-0 on the season as they bring opening weekend to a close.
The Amerks and Marlies renewed a rivalry that last season saw the teams meet 13 total times, with 12 of the games being decided by one goal. For Rochester, Saturday’s game was its first trip to Toronto since the teams’ first round playoff series last spring.
Marcus Foligno scored for the second time in as many days to bring Rochester within a goal, but Hamilton’s second marker of the night at 7:30 of the final frame proved to be the difference in the contest that saw a combined four power-play goals from both teams.
Reigning team MVP David Leggio made his second straight start between the pipes, stopping 34 of 37 shots he faced, including 15 of 16 in the third period. Toronto’s Ben Scrivens garnered his first win of the new campaign with a 20-save effort.
Defenseman Jake Gardiner gave Toronto a 1-0 lead 5:17 into the opening period with a wrist shot from high slot after he snuck in from the blueline during a Marlies power-play. Nazem Kadri and former Amerks Mike Kostka picked up the assists on the goal.
Later in the first, Toronto struck again with the man-advantage. While working the puck quickly around the offensive zone, Joe Colborne found Hamilton on the weak side post for a tap-in goal to make it a 2-0 game heading into the first intermission. Mike Zigomanis also assisted on the goal.
Rochester cut its deficit in half just under six minutes into the second period during a power-play of its own. Foligno took a pass from Cody Hodgson and fired a wrist shot from the slot that made its way through traffic and into the back of the net for his second goal of the season. Hodgson and T.J. Brennan, who also assisted on the goal, each picked up their second helper in as many games.
The run of power-play goals continued into the third period. Just 37 seconds after Toronto had a goal disallowed, Hamilton scored his second of the game to make it 3-1. Kostka found Colbrone alone on the goal line, and while skating backwards along the line, Hamilton collected the pass and stuffed it inside the post to put his team up by a pair.
The Amerks return home on Tuesday, Oct. 16 as the Binghamton Senators make their way to The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:05 p.m. matchup will be the first of eight get-togethers between the intrastate rivals this season and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.