C.J. Smith returned to the Rochester Americans lineup Saturday night from the National Hockey League and immediately made his presence known.
The Amerks' center scored the first two goals of the game and topped off his night with a third-period tally for a hat trick in a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Marlies before 7,141 at Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto. Toronto had won by the same score on Friday night at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester.
Smith scored his first NHL goal for the Buffalo Sabres in Tuesday night's 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils, but he was returned to the American Hockey League Amerks on Friday when Jack Eichel was activated from the injured list for Friday night's game at Carolina.
Smith scored on the power play as Rochester took the lead at 13:25 of the opening period. He scored again, even strength, at 5:00 of the second to make it 2-0.
After Trevor Moore scored for the Marlies at 2:43 of the third, the Amerks scored two in a row. Kevin Porter scored his sixth of the season at 6:43 and Victor Olofsson notched his 11th, on the power play, at 8:16.
Smith completed his hat trick at with 5:39 left in the third.
Scott Wedgewood made 26 saves for the Amerks. Smith was the first star, Wedgewood the second and Rochester defenseman Zach Redmond, who had two assists got the third start. Besides his goal, Porter had an assist.
Alexander Nylander collected his 15th assist on Olofsson's power play goal.
The outcome left Rochester 23-13-0-2 with 48 points and a two-point lead over the Utica Comets (21-17-3-1). Syracuse is third with 45 points. Toronto is fourth with 43 points.
Buffalo is 3-1 versus Toronto this season, with one of the wins coming in a shootout.