AHL

Schaller's hat trick powers Americans past Marlies

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The Canadian Press
4/5/2014 5:55:18 PM
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TORONTO -- The Toronto Marlies were supposed to clinch their third straight North Division title on Saturday.

Instead, Tim Schaller completed his third-period natural hat trick at 19:02 and Phil Varone scored the winner 15 seconds later as the Rochester Americans erased a 3-0 deficit to top the Marlies 4-3 in American Hockey League action.

Rochester scored four goals on 19 third period shots while holding Toronto to just nine shots on goal in the final 40 minutes.

"The challenge that I have here tonight is the guys with letters on their sweater. Our captain (Trevor Smith) had the puck on his stick, didn't get it deep, game over," said Marlies coach Steve Spott. "That's our expectation of (Korbinian) Holzer, Trevor Smith, Jerred Smithson -- they have to be better, they know that, I called them out after the game and I'm calling them out now.

"They have to be better."

The win stretches the Americans' win streak to three games and helps them keep pace with the Charlotte Checkers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Smith, who was on the ice for three Rochester (33-27-10) goals, failed to get the puck deep off a centre ice faceoff. The Americans capitalized with Varone beating Christopher Gibson with a wrist shot for his 16th of the season just 15 seconds after Schaller had tied it.

"It's disappointing. We're trying to do the best we can out there and try and lead the way for the guys and we're making mistakes, we're taking penalties and it wasn't a good day for our group," said Smith.

"We didn't get the puck deep, it took a couple bounces, they got 40-plus shots on net, one of them is going to take a lucky bounce, I think it hit a stick and Gibby didn't even have a chance on it

Schaller got Rochester on the board at 4:03 of the third one timing a Brayden Irwin pass home for his fifth of the season.

At 16:40 of the final frame, Schaller poked home a lose puck, on a power play, for his sixth of the season making it a one-goal game.

Then, with their net empty for an extra attacker, Schaller completed the hat trick poking home a lose puck tying the game 3-3 with 58 seconds remaining. The goal was initially waved off as referee Jean-Philippe Sylvain believed the puck was head-butted in.

However, upon review, Spott was told, "It went from the head, it touched Christopher Gibson and then went off one of their players stick. You have to trust the video, you have to trust the call."

Irwin finished the night with four assists.

Josh Leivo scored twice and Brad Ross had the other for the Marlies (41-22-6). Gibson made 39 saves in the loss.

Andrey Makarov made 13 saves for his third career AHL win.

Leivo gave Toronto a three-goal cushion with just 21 seconds remaining in the second period one-timing a Smith feed past Makarov for his 20th goal of the season.

The Marlies scored twice, on their first two shots of the game, to open a 2-0 lead five minutes in.

Ross opened the scoring backhanding a Sam Carrick feed blocker side past Makarov for his sixth of the season. It was Ross's first goal in 11 games and first in two months.

Leivo made it 2-0 at 5:12, on a power play, beating Makarov with a shot from the face-off dot for his 19th goal of the season.

Saturday was Leivo's fourth multi-goal game of the season.

"Good on him," said Spott. "We had a meeting with him this morning, he said he'd rebound, he did. He played like we need him to play."

Toronto's Carter Ashton, who was playing in his first game since an emergency recall by the Maple Leafs on Thursday, had two assists.

Notes: Frazer McLaren (hip flexor), Andrew MacWilliam (concussion) and Spencer Abbott (shoulder) all missed Saturday's game. Defenceman Zachary Yuen and forward Fabrice Herzog were healthy scratches. With goaltender Drew MacIntyre on emergency recall with the Maple Leafs, the Marlies recalled Christopher Gibson from the ECHL Friday.

Toronto Marlies (Photo: TSN.ca)

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(Photo: TSN.ca)
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