TORONTO – The Toronto Marlies didn’t make life any rosier for the Rochester Americans.
Ben Ondrus and Jeremy Williams scored to lead Toronto 2-0 over Rochester on Wednesday, sending the Americans (11-23-1-2) to their 14th loss in their last 15 games. Justin Pogge (12-2-4) collected the shutout in goal in front of 2,484 fans at the Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies sophomore stopper also set a franchise record for all-time wins with 31.
“I had to make a couple saves, but we had a lot of guys getting back in the (shooting) lanes,” said Pogge, happy to learn that he’d set a new team mark.
Toronto coach Greg Gilbert agreed with Pogge’s assessment of the game.
“We played well in all three zones,” Gilbert said. “We kept the game very simple, we made really good decisions and played well defensively. We gave them a few opportunities – we got a little scrambly late – but for the most part we were very solid.”
Toronto (23-6-0-4) outshot the young Americans 33-19, but didn’t get the game’s first goal until the matchup was more than half over.
Ondrus recorded his seventh goal of the season, firing his own rebound over Rochester goalie Adam Dennis’ arm on a power play just past the midway point of the second period.
Williams scored a beautiful goal less than two minutes into the third to provide the Marlies with a two-goal cushion. After working his way over the Americans blue-line, Colin Murphy sent a cross-ice pass to Williams, who scorched a one-timer off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net.
“Murph just laid the puck in there and I knew the goalie wasn’t expecting me to shoot from the stance I was in,” said Williams, whose goal was his seventh of the season but just his first in 12 games.
The winger was happy to see the goalless streak end, as was his coach.
“He’s starting to work a bit harder and he needs to work harder,” Gilbert said. “I think if you ask Jeremy that’s one thing he’s got to continue to do is push himself every game and get stronger.
“He’s just one of those guys who has a knack for scoring goals and there’s other areas of the game he’s going to have to better himself in, get stronger in to make himself a more well-rounded player. “
“It was good to see him score and maybe get the monkey off his back a bit.”
Toronto may well have opened up a lead earlier in the game if not for some very solid play by Dennis (9-9-1). The Rochester goalie certainly did all he could for his team, keeping the game scoreless through an opening 20 minutes in which the Marlies outshot Rochester 15-8.
The Marlies, who are a perfect 5-0-0 versus Rochester this year, continue to lead the North Division while the Americans sit in the cellar.
NOTES: The Marlies played without leading scorer David Ling, who left the team temporarily to be with his ailing father. . .The previous franchise record of 30 wins was held by Jean-Francois Racine. . . Toronto hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday.