Amerks lose 2-0 in Toronto; trail best-of-five series 2-0
TORONTO -- Jerry D’Amigo scored a goal and an assist and goaltender Drew MacIntyre stopped all 25 shots he faced to help the Toronto Marlies to a 2-0 win over the Rochester Americans in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals Sunday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. With the win, the Marlies take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series, which shifts back to Rochester for Game 3 on Wednesday, May 1 at The Blue Cross Arena.
Rochester netminder Matt Hackett earned the start between the pipes and made 18 saves in his postseason debut for the Amerks. The game also featured the American Hockey League debut of forward Mikhail Grigorenko, who was reassigned to Rochester Saturday along with rookies Brian Flynn and Mark Pysyk by the Buffalo Sabres following the conclusion of the NHL’s regular season. With Grigorenko playing in his first game as an Amerk, it marked the first time that both of the Buffalo Sabres’ first round picks in the 2012 NHL Draft were in Rochester’s lineup at the same time, as Grigorenko (12th overall) skated alongside Zemgus Grigensons (14th overall). Grigorenko is the highest drafted Sabres prospect to play for the Amerks since Thomas Vanek (5th overall, 2003) spent the 2004-05 season in Rochester.
Mike Zigomanis rounded out the scoring for the hometown Marlies as his first goal of the playoffs midway through the second proved to be the game-winner. With his 25-save effort, MacIntyre pushed Toronto to within one game of advancing to the second round of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs for the second straight year.
Each team had several power-play chances through the first two periods, and the Marlies finally broke through on their fifth opportunity of the game. A shot by D’Amigo went wide of the net, but the puck caromed out to the slot, where a scramble in front of the Rochester net ensued. Hackett stopped the first shot attempt by Greg Scott, but Zigomanis found the rebound and swept it in for the game’s first goal, which came at 12:39 of the middle frame. Shortly after, Hackett kept it a one-goal game when he denied Scott on a short-handed breakaway.
D’Amigo gave Toronto a 2-0 lead at 1:45 of the third period. Following a dump in, Greg McKegg dug out the puck from behind the net and made a centering feed to D’Amigo, who fired it into the net before Hackett was able to regain his position in the crease. McKegg would be awarded the lone assist on the play for the Marlies, who were again outshot 25-20 throughout the contest, including 15-5 in the third period.
The Amerks will host their first home game of the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, May 1 as Rochester looks to stave off elimination in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Toronto Marlies. Game time is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start at The Blue Cross Arena and will be carried live on Sports 1280 WHTK.