Already member? Login first!

Comments / New

Amerks Take 2-0 Series Lead Over Marlies

On Thursday, the Rochester Americans did something they’d never done before in franchise history: beat the Toronto Marlies in a Calder Cup playoff game.

On Saturday, they did it again, taking a 2-0 series lead in the North Division Final. Saturday’s 7-4 win, which followed Thursday’s 4-3 win, puts the Amerks in the position to win the series on Wednesday when they return to Rochester.

Jiri Kulich, the offensive prowess that he is, opened the scoring on Saturday near the midway point of the first period on a blast from the slot that beat Erik Källgren. Kulich is now on a five-game scoring streak and has six points in the postseason to date including two game-winners and four power-play goals.

The Amerks took a 1-0 lead into the second period, but opened the frame with a full, two-minute penalty kill following some extracurriculars after the buzzer. Tyson Kozak then went down after blocking a shot; he stayed out as best he could, but the Marlies tied the game on the same play.

Minutes later – still not even two minutes into the period – Brett Murray was helped off the ice after getting taken down by the Marlies’ net. Murray returned to the bench quickly enough; Kozak came back for the third period.

Following Toronto’s goal, the Amerks responded – again, and again, and again… and again. Quickly, what was a 1-1 game became a 5-1 game in favor of Rochester, as Jeremy Davies, Lukas Rousek, Sean Malone and Joseph Cecconi scored in quick succession. The four goals came in a span of 2:45.

Max Ellis got one back for the Marlies just past the midway point of the game, Toronto’s second of the game and second on the power play. In the end, all four of Toronto’s goals were scored on the man advantage, while the Amerks had two power-play goals of their own.

Pontus Holmberg made the game a little bit closer just 5:03 into the third period, and it still could’ve been anyone’s game at that point. The Marlies are a dangerous team – we’ve seen how they can rally – and the Amerks needed a strong response to keep them tamed for the final 15 minutes of regulation.

Captain Michael Mersch provided just that response, scoring 2:09 after Holmberg to keep the Amerks’ lead at three. Brendan Warren – who was kicked out of Thursday’s game after being inadvertently left off the official lineup sheet – scored his first goal of the postseason, an empty-netter, with 3:45 to play.

Toronto’s Alex Steeves scored another power-play goal with 1:38 left in regulation, but the Amerks held on for the 7-4 win. The Marlies led in shots 38-31, including 20-14 in the second period. They went 4-for-6 on the power play, while Rochester went 2-for-5.

Game three is set for Wednesday, May 17 at 7:05 p.m. at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester. Tickets are available here.