The Rochester Americans rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Toronto Marlies 3-2 in a shootout at The Blue Cross Arena on Sunday evening. The victory, in front of 5,429 fans, completed the home-and-home sweep for Rochester and moved them into seventh place in the Western Conference standings with 65 points. It also marked Rochester’s fifth win in the last six games.
“I thought we caught our legs and turned the game around,” Head Coach Ron Rolston said. “We have been a good third period team at home all year and wanted to come out and make a bit of a statement and leave it out there. It was a gritty win, no question about it.”
Goaltender David Leggio produced another stellar effort between the pipes for Rochester in his sixth straight start, turning aside 33 of 35 shots in addition to denying all five Toronto shooters in the shootout. TJ Brennan and Mark Voakes each scored a goal in regulation and Phil Varone netted the lone shootout tally.
Philippe Dupuis and Nazem Kadri each lit the lamp for Toronto while netminder Jussi Rynnas finished with 18 saves in his first action since January 10.
After a scoreless opening period, the Marlies found the back of the net 3:13 into the middle frame for a 1-0 lead. After a puck ended up loose in the Rochester crease, Dupuis got a stick on it and jammed it over the goal-line for an unassisted tally.
Kadri scored his 11th goal of the season at the 13:19 mark of the second to double Toronto’s advantage to 2-0. The 21-year-old accepted a pass in stride from Mike Zigomanis at the offensive blue line and proceeded to bury a wrister just inside the far post.
Rochester got on the board with a power-play goal with just six seconds remaining in the second period. Brennan blasted a one-timer from the right point that beat the Toronto netminder clean.
The tally represented Brennan’s 13th of the season, tying him for the lead among all AHL blueliners. Varone and Brayden McNabb each extended their point streaks to four games with the assists on the play.
The Amerks knotted the score at two 7:38 into the third period, as Voakes finished off a slick feed from behind the net off the stick of Travis Turnbull. Voakes accepted the pass in the low slot and quickly one-touched it under the arm of Rynnas for his eighth of the season.
After the teams were unable to settle the score for the remainder of regulation and overtime, Rochester was able to come out on top in the shootout to secure the two points.
The Amerks return to action on Friday, March 9 when they host the Binghamton Senators at The Blue Cross Arena in the first of two straight meetings between the teams in Rochester. The 7:35 p.m. contest will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk, and televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet Channel 26.