For the third consecutive week, the Toronto Marlies won just a single game but that sole success ensured they wouldn’t fall below .500 for the first time this season.
The Marlies penalty kill was vastly improved this week. Allowing just one goal during thirteen times short-handed, it proved vital during Sunday’s win.
The power play continues to keep rolling and is sixth best at 24.2%
Toronto head into the Christmas break with a 13-12-1-1 record. December has not been kind, having lost six of nine.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Toronto Marlies 2 @ Rochester Americans 5
Toronto has faced Rochester three times on the road this season and have fallen to defeat on each occasion.
After two bright opening shifts, a Justin Holl turnover gifted the Amerks the opening goal inside five minutes. The Marlies were lucky not to be further behind after more individual mistakes but almost scored short-handed on a Colin Greening breakaway.
The middle frame would prove extremely controversial, with the home team rightly feeling hard done by.
Dan Catenacci would double their lead after simply out-working two Marlies players and then firing past Ramo’s glove hand.
Toronto finally got on the board at the midway mark of the game. A power play goal from Lindberg that should not have stood. It appeared as though the winger had kicked the loose puck into the net, but called a good goal on the ice, the review system could not be used to waive the goal off.
Kasperi Kapanen came close to tying the game up before more controversy reared it’s head.
Rochester appeared to score a legitimate goal, a shot that had beaten Ramo top shelf. Even after a review a goal was not given much to the annoyance of everyone connected with the home team.
When the action restarted, Rochester did score a third within seconds as they simply out-worked and outfought the visitors once again.
A pinpoint shot on the power play from Kasperi Kapanen brought Toronto within one before the middle frame was done.
Rochester switched goalies for reason’s unknown to begin the third period but it made little difference to the outcome. The home team out-shot the Marlies 17-8 and some comical defending allowed them to re-establish their advantage after wasting prime power play opportunities. An empty net goal sealed victory for the home team and a hat-trick for Nick Baptiste.
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Albany Devils 3 @ Toronto Marlies 1
Another slow start and poor discipline cost Toronto dear as they fell to yet another defeat.
Down 2-0 after twenty minutes, the Marlies mustered just four shots in the opening frame.
The second period saw two good chances created early but the home team were down 3-0 with 25 minutes on the clock.
Toronto were fortunate not be fall further behind before finally getting themselves on the board.
Colin Smith, Byron Froese and Andreas Johnsson combining, with the latter putting home the rebound.
It breathed new life into the home team and Rinat Valiev was unlucky to watch his shot crash back off the post.
The intermission came at the wrong time for a resurgent Marlies, who were fortunate not to find themselves down 4-1 early in the third period. Brian Gibbons missed two gilt edge opportunities for the visitors, who also wasted a power play. That penalty kill seemed to galvanise the Marlies and they created a host of chances.
Kerby Rychel and Andrew Nielsen both hit iron, and they bad luck continued on a following power play. The puck clearly crossed the line but was waived off by the on ice officials. With no video review available, a penalty shot was awarded but Colin Smith would be denied. The final four minutes would see Toronto set up camp in the Albany zone, having pulled Antoine Bibeau for the extra attacker. Byron Froese would strike the post with seventy seconds remaining and that’s as close as they would come.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Albany Devils 1 @ Toronto Marlies 4
A makeshift Marlies team rebounded to split the series with the Devils.
Toronto have been a team shorn of confidence since November but for once after being hugely out-played, they didn’t find themselves in a first period hole. Antoine Bibeau kept Albany off the board until Toronto opened the scoring with their third shot on goal. The relief was palpable as Byron Froese redirected Kerby Rychel’s shot. The momentum was now with the home team and the Marlies were up 2-0 less than three minutes later. Rinat Valiev smashing home his first of the season on the power play.
The lead was extended to three just after the midway point. Moments after striking iron, Froese finally hit the net as Toronto tallied for the second time with the man advantage.
An error from Travis Dermott gifted the visitors their first goal of the game and there were moments during the third period when Albany threatened to draw within one.
Antoine Bibeau stood firm to dismiss Devils thought’s of a comeback and Dymtro Timashov sealed the victory by tapping home into the net after Froese had been denied his hat-trick.
Byron Froese led the way offensively with four points. He’s now second in team goals with twelve to his name, one behind Kasperi Kapanen.
Three assists for Colin Smith extends his point streak to five games.
Kerby Rychel also recorded three assists and is finally producing closer to the rate expected. Nine of his 15 points this season have been attained in the last eight games.
Kasperi Kapanen scored in the loss to Rochester but missed both games over the weekend through injury. He’s due to return Boxing Day, all being well.
After making his Leafs debut, Antoine Bibeau was reassigned to the Marlies for some extra playing time. He took both starts against Albany, and was excellent on Sunday, recording his 50th regular season victory.
Frederick Gauthier made his return from injury, suiting up for two games before being scratched for Sunday’s game. Initial concerns about a reoccurrence of his injury were dispelled as he was recalled to the Leafs.
Two assists for Andrew Nielsen takes his seasonal tally to 19. He sit’s tenth overall in rookie scoring.
Kari Ramo took one start on Wednesday and still appears nowhere near NHL ready. Whether he continues to receive starts for the Toronto Marlies is unknown.
Brendan Leipsic has not featured since December 7 in Utica. He, like Kapanen, is hopeful of a Boxing Day return.
Eric Faille was recalled from Orlando and suited up for Sunday’s game, playing alongside Colin Greening and Marc-Andre Cliché. He’s now been reassigned to Orlando but don’t be surprised if he returns next week.
Rich Clune “blew his groin out” during Saturday’s game per Sheldon Keefe and there’s no timeline on the injury as of now.