TORONTO – The Rochester Americans dealt the Toronto Marlies’ dwindling playoff hopes a big blow on Saturday.
Mike York and Clay Wilson each scored twice and added an assist to lead the Americans to a convincing 7-3 victory over Toronto in American Hockey League action.
Victor Oreskovich, David Brine and Jamie Johnson also scored for Rochester in front of 4,308 fans at Ricoh Coliseum. Centre Jeff Taffe collected three assists, while Johnson added a pair of helpers.
“We took too many penalties and they’re an opportunistic team,” said Marlies centre Justin Hodgman, who scored the first goal of the game before Rochester took over. “They’re a good club and they capitalized on their chances.”
The win helps Rochester (40-31-2) secure its hold on sixth place in the Western Conference with seven games remaining in the regular season.
Juraj Mikus and Ryan Hamilton added goals for Toronto (30-32-11), which recorded its second consecutive loss on the heels of a season-best five-game winning streak. The Marlies are tied for 11th place in the West with little chance of qualifying for the AHL post-season.
“A loss isn’t good for us right now,” said Marlies winger Andre Deveaux, “but we’ve showed character all season and we need to refocus and be ready for them tomorrow.”
The Marlies and Americans conclude the weekend home-and-home series with a game in Rochester on Sunday.
Americans backup goalie Tyler Plante stopped 32 shots for the victory, including a highlight-reel glove save on Toronto’s Tim Brent midway through the first period. At the other end, Marlies goalie Joey MacDonald allowed six goals on 18 shots before being pulled after two periods in favour of James Reimer.
“We can’t blame MacDonald or Reimer at all,” Deveaux said. “A lot of Rochester’s goals were on backdoor passes or after a scramble in front.
“We didn’t play very well defensively.”
Rochester jumped out to a 3-1 lead after the first period and held a commanding 6-3 advantage after 40 minutes. Both teams were dangerous on the power play, with each going 3-for-6 on the man advantage.
Hodgman opened the scoring for Toronto at 2:47 of the first period, but York tied it up just 41 seconds later when he lifted a backhand shot past MacDonald’s glove during a scramble in the slot. Oreskovich’s power-play goal made it 2-1 for Rochester at 16:47 of the opening period, and Brine made it 3-1 just 18 seconds later.
Wilson fired his first goal of the game at 4:31 of the second period, also on the power play, to make it 4-1 for Rochester. Mikus’ shot hit traffic in front and deflected past Plante at 7:09, but York restored Rochester’s three-goal advantage less than three minutes later at 9:46. The two teams traded goals late in the second, with Hamilton converting on the power play at 17:36 for Toronto before Wilson’s second power-play goal of the game at 18:38.
Johnson’s 24th goal of the season, at 3:08 of the third period, put things out of reach as Rochester cruised to victory.