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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres

(TORONTO, ON)… The Rochester Americans fell 6-1 to the Toronto Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday as Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton netted a hat trick. The game was the first of a season-long five-game road trip for the Amerks, who moved to 5-2-1-0 in the month of March.

Brad Ross, Greg Scott and Kenny Ryan also scored for the Marlies, while goaltender Drew MacIntyre stopped 30 of 31 shots to earn the victory. Simon Gysbers added two assists for Toronto, which extended its narrow North Division lead over Rochester to four points.

Maxime Legault scored the lone goal for the Amerks, a shorthanded tally that gave him five goals in his last seven games. Goaltender David Leggio, the AHL leader in wins, saves and minutes played, made 26 saves in the loss. Amerks leading scorer Mark Mancari, who entered the game ranked third in the AHL in points, saw his eight-game point streak come to an end.

The Marlies scored first on a shorthanded breakaway goal by Hamilton. After Brayden McNabb’s one-timer rang off the post, the puck wound up in the left corner, where Toronto defenseman Dylan Yeo collected it and sent a high, arching back-hander out of his own zone. Hamilton had already broken out of the zone himself and gained possession of the clearing pass at the Rochester blue line. He then broke in all alone on Leggio and beat the netminder to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead at 9:35 of the first period.

Late in the opening period, Toronto scored again to make it a 2-0 game heading into the first intermission. Ross picked up a bouncing puck in the neutral zone and took off on a breakaway. Despite the backchecking efforts of an Amerks defenseman, Ross was able to slide the puck underneath Leggio for the unassisted goal with just 43 seconds remaining in the period.

Toronto extended its lead to 3-0 late in the second period. After Rochester had finished killing off a penalty, Scott took a pass from Gysbers in the neutral zone and skated into the Rochester end. After gaining the blue line in the center of the ice, Scott cut to his left and fired a wrist shot from the face-off circle to the far top corner of the net to extend the Toronto lead. Joe Colborne also assisted on the goal.

The Marlies added two goals early in the third period to go up 5-0. First, a shot from the high slot by Hamilton that bounced off traffic and into the Rochester net gave the Toronto captain his second goal of the night. Less than two minutes later, Ryan found a rebound on the weak-side post and slid it into the net for his sixth goal of the season off assists from Kevin Marshall and Gysbers.

Legault would get Rochester on the board late in the third period by scoring a shorthanded, unassisted goal. The forward broke in down the left wing boards and banked a shot in off the back of MacIntyre’s skate from a difficult angle with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. Toronto regained its five-goal lead minutes later when Hamilton scored on a rebound to complete his hat trick.

Rochester begins a four-game trek through the South Division on Tuesday, March 19 when it travels to Oklahoma City to take on the Barons at the Cox Convention Center. The 8:30 p.m. ET matchup will be the first of just two meetings between the intraconference rivals and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.

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