“Dennis played excellent,” said Marlies netminder Justin Pogge, who, like Dennis, made his second pro start. “Goalies are going to steal a game sometimes.”
Left winger Dylan Hunter and right wingers Drew Stafford and Anthony Stewart, with an empty-netter, scored for the Americans in front of 3,777 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Rochester improved to 6-0-0 on the season, despite being outshot 55-24.
“Dennis is capable of that,” said Marlies coach Greg Gilbert. “We had plenty of opportunities to score, point-blank opportunities. I thought we played a heck of a game, we created a lot of opportunities and we didn’t give up too many scoring chances.”
Marlies right winger Brad Leeb was the only player to beat Dennis as Toronto fell to 2-3-1.
“Sometimes the puck goes in, sometimes it doesn’t,” Leeb said. “I just have to keep playing, keep shooting.”
Dennis, a Toronto native who was a sixth round draft pick in 2005 by Buffalo, stopped 22 shots in the final frame, and was called on throughout the game to bail out his
At the other end, Pogge made a total of 21 saves on 23 shots.
“I thought I played pretty good,” Pogge said. “There wasn’t much I could do on those two goals.”
Gilbert agreed with his rookie goalie: “I thought Pogge was good tonight. He made some big saves and his rebound control wasn’t too bad.”
The Americans went 0-for-3 on the power play, while the Marlies were 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Toronto had two 5-on-3 opportunities in the game, but failed to score on either one.
“Yeah, that hurt,” Gilbert said. “We created opportunities, but kept missing the net. We’ve gotta hit the net, even if the puck is stopped, there’s gonna be some rebounds.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and Rochester led 2-1 through 40 minutes. The Marlies charged out of the gate, with Leeb scoring on the power play at 2:18 of the first period. The right winger cruised through the slot and knocked a loose puck past Dennis for his third goal of the season.
Rochester tied it at 1-1 when Brandon Smith found Hunter all alone in front at 9:57. Pogge had no chance on Hunter’s one-timer slapshot that found the top left corner.
Toronto dominated play in the opening frame, outshooting Rochester 16-3 at one point and 18-9 after 20 minutes.
The Amerks scored the only goal of the middle frame at 12:52, when Stafford banked the puck in off Pogge as the Rochester right winger was circling behind the net.
The Amerks showed more jump in the second period, especially after Stafford’s marker gave them the lead. But Rochester still relied heavily on Dennis, as the Marlies held a lopsided 33-15 edge in shots through 40 minutes.
The Amerks goalie turned aside a furious 5-on-3 Marlies power play in the middle of the final frame, making several big saves.
“We have to take some positives out of this game,” Pogge said. “I mean, we fired 50 shots on net. “And the team played well in front of me, blocking a lot of shots and clearing rebounds.”
The Marlies play their third game in three days when the
Peoria Rivermen visit the Ricoh Coliseum today at 4 p.m.
Notes: Goalie Mikael Tellqvist and defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, both of whom played in Toronto’s 5-4 win over Hamilton Friday night, did not dress against Rochester. Neither did tough left winger Nathan Perrott … None of those players are injured, according to the Marlies PR staff … Tellqvist was sent down to the Marlies by the parent Maple Leafs on a conditioning assignment last week; and, it was Colaiacovo’s first game since sustaining a concussion last season with the Leafs …The last time the Marlies had 50 shots in a game was Jan. 10, 2006, in a 4-2 loss at Houston.