- Aiden Locke
Sweep, sweep, sweep!
By: Aiden Locke
Rochester, NY --- The Rochester Americans came into game three up 2-0 in the series against the Toronto Marlies in the North Division finals.
Toronto came out swinging with their backs against the wall. The fast start created the first goal of the came off their opening rush just 17 seconds into the contest. Pontus Holmberg would score his first of three on the night to open things up. It would be domination through out the rest of the first period from Rochester as they would score three unanswered goals over the next seven minutes of play, while Malcolm Suban would lock things down in goal for Rochester. Joseph Woll made his first start of the AHL playoffs after assignment down from the Maple Leafs follow their exit of the NHL playoffs.
Rochester's fast pace and scrappy play would be the difference early on in this one as they came out fired up in front of a sold out Blue Cross Arena. Their three first period goals would all have two man assists showing the cohesion and unselfish nature this Rochester team strives to play and it worked wonders for them to close out the series on Wednesday night.
The second period saw the most back and fourth action as both teams would score twice. Pontus Holmberg would score twice to complete his hat-trick, while the two young guns Jiri Kulich and Isak Rosen would both find the back of the net for Rochester. Rosen's came off the powerplay which Rochester would go 3/3 on the night bringing their series total to 7/11 with the man advantage.
The second period had a fiery ending as four players picked up roughing penalties after a big scuffle in the final two minutes. Play would stay five-on-five however as Davies, and Malone would pick up the infractions fir Rochester. While Blandisi and Zohorna would be sent to the break early for Toronto.
Isak Rosen would score his second of the night right around the halfway mark of period three to extend Rochester's lead back to three. Toronto couldn't string together multiple goals in a row at any point which flustered them in the third as they always found themselves down at least two outside of the first few minutes of the game. The goal scoring was on full display for both teams but Rochester had a different level as Murray would score on the powerplay with four minutes left to put the game out of reach.
Matt Bartkowski would score on the empty net after Rochester held off massive late pressure from Toronto. Rochester struggles to finish on the empty net in the final two minutes and after a feed from Lukas Rousek (who had a four point night) Bartkowski was able to burry it.
This game was controlled by Rochester throughout as Toronto couldn't cope with Rochester's contest pressure all night long. Suban was a rock for Rochester on the back end making 34 saves along with a couple highlight reel beauties for the Amerks. Joseph Woll had 28 saves along with a couple massive ones of his own, but wasn't getting the same defensive support up front as Suban and the scoresheet shows that.
Rochester is moving onto the conference finals and will face off against the Hershey Bears in the first seven game series of the playoffs. Coach Seth Appert for Rochester called Hershey the best team in the conference during his post game interview. This series has been won but the tallest moutain is still yet to climb for the Amerks.