Finally back at home for three games this past week, the Syracuse Crunch were the first visitors to Ricoh Coliseum.
It proved to be a Wednesday evening not to forget, as Toronto staged another remarkable comeback.
Trailing by two goals with less than ten minutes remaining, Hyman scored on a rebound to bring them within one. It was left to Mark Arcobello to tie the game up on a breakaway with 1:27 left in regulation.
Both teams shared late chances but the best fell to Tanner Richard with ten seconds on the clock.
Alone in the slot he was robbed not once, but twice by Antoine Bibeau who redeemed himself in the third period after a less than stellar performance overall. It was off to overtime and Toronto gained the extra point with a beauty of a goal from Brendan Leipsic. A wonderful spin-o-rama move followed by a backhand finish after terrific work from Ryan Rupert to win possession behind the net.
It was a game the Marlies had always trailed in and the allowed the first goal despite dominating the first period, as Syracuse opened the scoring on the powerplay. Viktor Loov tied up the game with his first of the season but Toronto would find themselves down 2-1 after two periods. An Arcobello goal tied things up early in the third until a mad forty seconds of play saw Syracuse score twice, requiring the Toronto comeback.
5-4 OT Win
Superheroes day on Saturday saw Toronto prevail in a power play battle with the Utica Comets.
Although having the upper hand for the majority of the opening period, the Comets found themselves down 1-0 as Rylan Schwartz scored his first goal for Toronto.
The second period was all about the powerplay as the teams combined for three goals in eleven minutes with the man advantage. Arcobello and Kapanen with the tallies for Toronto as the Marlies held a 3-1 lead heading into the final twenty minutes. There was little action until around seven minutes to play when the Comets pushed hard to try and salvage something from the game. Brandon Marino was guilty of missing a golden chance as he fired wide of the empty cage with Sparks beaten. Utica would score on their fourth powerplay of the game, as Jordan Subban was the trailer on the play and he rifled home
from the right circle with less than five minutes on the clock.
Toronto stayed calm and assured, drawing a penalty with a fraction under two minutes remaining.
Arcobello and Frattin would go close to netting the insurance marker before Soshnikov finally did after Utica pulled their netminder in desperation. Far from the Marlies best performance but they found a way to win against a very dogged and determined Utica Comets team.
It’s often hard to win both games against the same team in a back-to-back scenario but Toronto made up for Saturday’s average performance by blitzing Utica the following day.
The story was the return of Connor Brown and he did not disappoint. Two goals for Brown and a debut marker from David Kolomatis in-between, put the Marlies up 3-0 with only ten minutes on the clock.
T.J Brennan made it 4-0 shortly after and Utica switched their goalies around. It made little different as despite not taken advantage of numerous power play time, two goals in the opening eight minutes of the second period killed the game as a contest. Brennan with his second and a short-handed tally from Leipsic rubbing salt into the Comets wound. The visitors would get on the board in bizarre fashion and it broke a potential shutout bid for Bibeau. Carter Bancks received a long outlet pass from Jordan Subban, but the former was clearly offside in the Toronto zone. Brennan stopped skating, expecting a call which did not come and to the Utica forward’s credit he finished with aplomb.
Arcobello wrapped up the scoring with a fine individual goal early in the third period as the Marlies posted one of their best performance this season.
A perfect week with all possible six points attained, taking the season total to 70.
The seven goals against Utica was the eighth time this season that the Marlies have scored 6+ in a single game.
Three consecutive victories on home ice has seen the win tally at Ricoh Coliseum hit 15 for the season.
The special teams were a mix over the three games. The power play looking far better than recently but the penalty kill struggled in Saturday’s game against the Comets. Both units were required eleven times with the power play netting three times. The penalty kill gave up three but also scored a shorthanded marker, the eight time this season Toronto has tallied whilst down a man.
Nowhere better to stats than with the CCM/AHL Player of the Week, Mark Arcobello.
Four goals and three assists for Arcobello this week, and he’s recorded four straight multi-point games.
T.J Brennan was also dynamite with four points, split evenly between goals and assists.
He’s tied for the AHL lead in scoring and only failed to register a point once in his last nine outings.
Kasperi Kapanen, Brendan Leipsic and Zach Hyman all put up three points. The former is certainly showing us more of what he’s capable of in each games that passes since his return from Finland.
Connor Brown made an instant impact on his long awaited return from injury. Not just the goals but his performance after that length of layoff was remarkable. Could easily have had a hat-trick and for the Marlies it’s like signing a new player at this stage of the season. He’s healthy and raring to go.
Three players made Marlies debut’s this past week. Rylan Schwartz, Eric Baier and David Kolomatis.
Solar Bears Captain Baier was steady in his one performance, recording an assist before he was sent back to Orlando along with Jack Rodewald.
Schwartz didn’t look out of place on his return to the AHL, playing twice and potted the only goal scored at even strength on Saturday. If injuries remain and his strong play continues, there could be an AHL contract for him.
Kolomatis went straight into action on Sunday after being signed to an SPC on Saturday. The veteran defenseman had no time to practise with the Marlies and with that in mind, his performance was more than admirable. A steady showing alongside T.J Brennan, he chipped in with a fine goal after jumping into the play. A right-handed defenseman, he could find himself a regular in the line-up.
Antoine Bibeau was far better on Sunday than Wednesday, but two victories nonetheless, extending his good record to 15-4.
Garret Sparks made 31 saves on Saturday for his solitary victory and looked far sharper in his second appearance since injury.
He’s not a fashionable player on this roster but Brett Findlay continues to go about his business, winning the trust of Sheldon Keefe. Given the task of centering Nikita Soshnikov and Connor Brown on Sunday, he had himself a fine game, teeing up the latter for his second goal after beginning the rush in the defensive zone.
Stuart Percy left Sunday’s game in the first period after a reckless hit from Darren Archibald.
Thankfully he did not suffer a concussion or any kind of head injury according to Sheldon Keefe, who
mentioned a lower body injury. Percy was seen to be limping after the game, and might miss Wednesday’s encounter Grand Rapids but hopefully will be available by the weekend if that’s the case.
Injured or unavailable players right now are Justin Holl, Sam Carrick, William Nylander, Scott Harrington, Justin Johnson, Josh Leivo and Rich Clune.
Wed, Jan 27, 2016 Toronto at Grand Rapids 11:00 am EST
Fri, Jan 29, 2016 Toronto at Grand Rapids 7:00 pm EST
Sat, Jan 30, 2016 Binghamton at Toronto 5:00 pm EST