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Amerks take 2 of 3 games to start 2017

by Rochester Americans @AmerksHockey / Amerks.com

In their first three-in-three of the calendar year, the Rochester Americans (16-19-0-1) came out on top in two games, both of which were won beyond regulation time. One week shy of this season's halfway point, the Amerks sit tied for fourth place in the North Division.

 

SYR 3 - RCH 4 (SO)

SYR vs RCH

The Rochester Americans and the first-place Syracuse Crunch were tied at three after 65 minutes of play Friday at The Blue Cross Arena, but Rochester captain Cal O'Reilly scored the lone goal in the first round of the shootout to give the Amerks their first three-game win streak of the season.

While O'Reilly scored the game-deciding goal in the skills competition, rookie Vaclav Karabacek recorded his first career AHL two-point (0+2) night in the Amerks victory. Nicholas Baptiste, Kyle Bonis and Daniel Muzito-Bagenda all lit the lamp during regulation. 

Linus Ullmark made 36 saves on the 39 shots he faced to claim his in third straight victory to up his record to 14-12-1. Ullmark, who was recently named to the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic, is now tied for the league lead with 14 wins this season.

Matt Taormina found the back of the net and helped setup another to increase his league-lead among defensemen to 32 points (10+22) in the contest for the Crunch. Eric Condra and Mike Halmo finished off the scoring for the North Division's top team while Kristers Gudlevskis made his first start since Dec. 18, finishing with 15 saves on the night.

After the Crunch tied the contest at three midway through the final period, the two clubs grinded through the remaining 10 minutes of regulation, but neither side could find the game's deciding goal to force overtime.

The Amerks fired three shots during the overtime period while limiting the Crunch to just one, but similarly, neither squad find the back of the cage and a shootout was required.

O'Reilly opened the skills competition with a goal as he beat Gudlevskis on the glove side. Baptiste and Cole Schneider both missed on their opportunities while Ullmark held off all three Crunch shooters to seal Rochester's third win in as many games. It was also the Amerks' sixth win in the last nine tilts.

 

RCH 0 - TOR 5

Amerks vs. Marlies

The Rochester Americans were denied their bid for a fourth straight win Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum, where the host Toronto Marlies scored just over four minutes into the contest and never looked back on their way to a 5-0 win over the Amerks in the first half of a two-game set. 

The loss snapped a season-high three-game win streak as Rochester suffered its second shutout loss of the season.

Baptiste fired four shots on net to lead all Amerks skaters while Evan Rodrigues registered three but saw his career-best five-game point streak (3+4) end in the defeat. Ullmark made his seventh straight start, making 37 saves on 42 attempts in the losing effort to fall to 14-13-1 on the campaign.

Bryon Froese recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season as he scored a pair of goals and also earned an assist in the win for the Marlies. Kerby Rychel, Rinat Valiev and Andreas Johnsson each chipped in with a tally to round out the scoring. Garret Sparks stopped all 24 shots he faced as he earned his second shutout of the slate and improved his record to 5-4-0. The Marlies have blanked five of their opponents this season, which is just one shy of the San Jose Barracuda's six.

 

RCH 4 - TOR 3 (OT)

Amerks vs. Marlies

On a night full of milestones, the Rochester Americans avenged last night's 5-0 setback to the Toronto Marlies by reversing the script in a 4-3 overtime win on Sunday afternoon to split the two-game set with the Marlies thanks to Mac Bennett's game-winning goal 1:42 into the extra session. 

With today's win at Ricoh Coliseum, the Amerks have moved into a fourth-place tie in the North Division and have won six of their last nine games.

O'Reilly recorded a pair of assists to lead Rochester to its fourth win in the last five games. With O'Reilly's first assist of the contest, it marked his 500th career professional point. Casey Nelson added his third goal of the slate while Justin Vaive scored his first as an Amerk for what was also his 100th pro point. Newcomer Bobby Shea also skated in his 200th professional game this afternoon in Toronto. 

In just his sixth start of the season, Amerks goaltender John Muse made 38 saves to earn the win and now shows a record of 2-3-0 on the campaign.

After being held off the scoresheet in last night's game, Kasperi Kapanen scored¬ a pair of markers for the Marlies while Colin Smith closed out the scoring. After being reassigned early Sunday, Antoine Bibeau stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced.

Less than two minutes into overtime, Baptiste bolted down the ice in a one-on-one battle against Toronto's Brendan Leipsic, firing the puck off only to be deflected by the right pad of Bibeau. 

Bennett, who joined the rush late, picked up the rebound in front of the cage, shifted to his right and slipped the puck into the back of the net for his second goal of the campaign and first game-winning marker since the Dec. 17, 2014 as a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

 

Coming up

Rochester hosts the Hartford Wolf Pack for the second time Wednesday night before welcoming the league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Friday night for the first and only time of the campaign. 

The Amerks will then hit the road for a 5 p.m. faceoff against the Marlies on Sunday. 

 

Scoring leaders

1. Cole Schneider 14G - 21A - 35 PTS
2. Cal O'Reilly 7G - 26A - 33 PTS
3. Nicholas Baptiste 17G - 8A - 25 PTS
4. Justin Bailey 13G - 9A - 22 PTS
5. Evan Rodrigues 7G - 14A - 21 PTS

 

Goaltending Leaders

1. Linus Ullmark 14-13-1-0; 3.06 GAA; .906 SV%
2. John Muse 2-3-0-0; 3.11 GAA; .912 SV%
3. Jason Kasdorf 0-3-0-0; 5.75 GAA; .828 SV%

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