Just two games this week but plenty of news and spectacular happenings on the ice.
Two games on the rock for the Marlies, facing a St. John’s team that are now the affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. The jersey and location may have changed for the Habs farm team, but the old rivalry is alive and kicking between these two teams
We’ll begin Friday evening which was notable for Toronto enjoying domination when they were on their game but sadly that was too sporadic for them to pick up the full two points. The IceCaps took the lead against the run of play late in the second period and doubled up early in the third. Mark Arcobello inspired the comeback, first setting up Casey Bailey for a tap in, before firing home on the power play himself. Both Sparks and Fucale were kept busy through the remainder of regulation but it was off to overtime once again for Toronto but for the first time this season they would lose in extra hockey. Christian Thomas ripping his effort from the left circle past Sparks to secure the second point for St. John’s.
Those who witnessed Saturday’s game will never forget it. Both teams played very average defense and some of the goaltending on offer was of a poorer standard than said offense.
Toronto allowed the opening goal once again, early in the first period but bounced back to score three straight, with markers from Brennan, Arcobello and Soshnikov to lead 3-1 after twenty minutes.
The IceCaps would then tally three goals in eleven second period minutes to re-take the lead.
The Marlies responded through Hyman to tie the game at 4-4. The home team weren’t finished as they tallied twice more for five goals in the period and held a 6-4 lead after forty minutes. That advantage was extended to 8-4 just 47 seconds into the final frame of regulation as St. John’s scored twice in six seconds.
Bibeau was replaced by Sparks and an Arcobello tally at 2:39 began the come back. A double blast from Leivo and a second of the season from Carrick meant we had a 8-8 tie with still over five minutes remaining and it was the IceCaps turn to switch goaltenders. It’d be overtime again and Nylander was the hero with a fantastic snipe after coming from behind the net. For a fuller round-up of the craziest game I’ve ever witnessed check out my post game here: wp.me/p2gDti-li
Despite what you might have read else, this was not the highest-scoring game in the history of the AHL.
That in fact was set in 1945 when Cleveland Barons defeated Pittsburgh Hornets by a score of 12-10.
A record was equalled however, for the highest-scoring regulation tie: 8-8 through 60 minutes. (Information provided by AHL Communications)
A three point weekend against a divisional rival on the road isn’t the worst possible result, especially when you consider that Toronto were trailing for the majority of both games and were far from the level they are capable of.
The standard of play won’t please Sheldon Keefe and there will be much to work on.
The point streak now sits at seven games and a record of 5-0-1-0 on this November road-trip which finishes this Wednesday in Rochester.
Toronto are four points clear at the top of the North Division, although having played more games than nearest rivals Albany and Syracuse. As far as the conference goes, the Marlies sit second with a 0.767 points percentage, only behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins whose PCT is 0.923 having won eleven straight games
William Nylander led the way with five points (1G/4A) this weekend and was the leading scorer in the American Hockey League come the end of the game. Nineteen points in 14 games for Nylander.
Mark Arcobello added three goals and a helper to his account. The Connecticut native has tallied in each of his six Marlies starts and has ten points to his name (6G/4A).
Richard Panik was benched late in Friday’s game and hasn’t been finding the net much this season, but he’s been a crucial cog alongside Nylander. Panik is third in the league for assists with eleven through 13 games, after helping himself to three helpers on Saturday evening.
Josh Leivo propelled himself to second in Marlies scoring with a pair of goals and assists on Saturday.
Eleven of Leivo’s fourteen points have come at even strength.
The power play fired this weekend, with three goals on eight attempts but the usually reliable penalty kill gave up two goals on six attempted kills.
In injury news, Petter Granberg is now engaged in full practise and has been cleared to hit.
Kasperi Kapanen did not make the journey with what is described as a lower back problem, bumps and bruises. James Martin came in for Captain Andrew Campbell who didn’t play this week with a lower body injury. Zach Bell was recalled as cover on the blue line.
Antoine Bibeau returned from the Leafs and looked stale in the Saturday night game. His being pulled from the game was the first time that’s happened in a Marlies game this season.
Rob Madore was sent back to Orlando and was outstanding in the Solar Bears victory on the same Saturday evening.
The Toronto Marlies announced Thursday that their home game versus the Manitoba Moose on Sunday, December 6 will now take place at Air Canada Centre. Puck drop remains unchanged and will be at 3 p.m, with the game broadcast on Leafs TV.
The divisional match-ups continue this week with an away and home against the Rochester Americans and then Toronto will welcome Binghamton to Ricoh on Sunday afternoon.
It’s be the first time this season Toronto have played these teams at home and will be looking to replicate recent success, having beaten Rochester 8-2 in their only meeting this season and defeating Binghamton 6-1 in the last encounter.
Wed, Nov 18, 2015 Toronto @ Rochester 7:05 pm EST
Sat, Nov 21, 2015 Rochester @ Toronto 5:00 pm EST
Sun, Nov 22, 2015 Binghamton @ Toronto 3:00 pm EST