Yesterday’s loss to the Hamilton Bulldogs really stung in terms of, well, jumping ahead of them and picking up their playoff spot. However, the beauty of the AHL’s jam-packed, weekend-heavy schedule is that you can change your fortunes in a matter of hours. Today was a new day, and the Toronto Marlies were in a new city, with a new opportunity. They took that opportunity too, winning 4-3 against the tailspinning Rochester Americans.
Rochester opened the scoring in this one, as 20 year old Jayden Hart scored his first ever AHL goal just eight minutes into a pretty even-handed first period. It wasn’t a lead that was held for long, however, as before the period ended, William Nylander set up Ryan Rupert for his fourteenth of the season.
Picking up a secondary assist on that Rupert goal was Connor Brown, and that was the start of a career night for him. Midway through the second period, Brown scored a goal of his own on the powerplay, and in with 49 seconds to go, set up Nylander for his eighth of the year. The point-production rampage continued into the third period, as Brown set up Greg McKegg for his career high-matching 19th of the season, putting the Marlies up by a score of 4-1.
The Amerks didn’t go quietly into the night, though. Actually, I should specify; Chad Ruhwedel was the one who refused to do so, picking up two goals in the latter half of the third period, spoiling an otherwise spectacular night by Christopher Gibson. That lead to some nervous tension in the final seconds, but the Marlies held on to pick up the two points.
Do you even have to ask? This was Connor Brown’s first four point night of his professional career, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. While Don Cherry was wrong to suggest that he’s “too good” for the AHL, he’s definitely had a heck of a year, and has proven to be very good at this level. His performance brings him to 18 goals and 55 points in 66 games, leading the Marlies in scoring, along with all AHL rookies. Not bad for a kid who just turned 21 ten weeks ago.
Summing It Up
Another day, another two points. The Marlies remain just barely out of the playoff picture, but have two games in hand on Hamilton and Milwaukee. Their next game is against the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday night, another team that they’re chasing in the standings.
Shoutout to @hamsteroflove for the snap from Rochester!