The Toronto Marlies began a three-in-three weekend with a visit to the Canadian Tire Centre Friday evening.
It was a chance for a little redemption after spotting the Binghamton Senators seven goals during a third period collapse at the ACC last Saturday.
Toronto got off to the worst possible start when Andrew Campbell misplayed the puck right in front of Kasimir Kaskisuo, allowing Gabriel Gagne to score 28 seconds in.
The Marlies responded well with decent efforts from Andrew Nielsen and Cal O’Reilly but would follow that up by only recording one shot on a following power play.
Staying out of the box was Toronto’s biggest problem during the opening period, relying on the PK and Kaskisuo to bail the team out.
The rookie goaltender making a pair of excellent saves to deny Nick Paul and Chris LeBlanc on separate occasions.
The Marlies looked certain to score on their best opportunity of the period but play was cut short as Nielsen dropped the gloves with Jack Rodewald.
It was a moment of madness from the rookie defensemen, who will hopefully learn from this misjudgement.
It could be argued that the visitors were a little fortunate to only trail by one goal through twenty minutes but Binghamton simply weren’t clinical enough.
Toronto set a far better tone in the opening five minutes of the middle frame.
Controlling the play, they were able to change on the fly and hem the Senators in their own zone.
Kasperi Kapanen would be denied in tight by Chris Dreidger, who would have to be alert to turn aside Kerby Rychel on an ensuing power play.
The B-Sens would have an excellent chance to net while short-handed as Mike Blunden was allowed to escape alone on the Toronto net. Kaskisuo came out to challenge Binghamton’s captain and it was enough to force him wide and lose an edge in the process as the opportunity vanished.
The Marlies were certainly guilty of not testing Dreidger enough despite their dominance but certainly made their limited chances count.
After intercepting a pass at the red line, Kapanen raced away down the right before ripping a shot past Dreidger and into the net via the iron.
The tying goal was timed at 9:15 and it took a mere seven seconds for Toronto to take the lead.
Seth Griffith was allowed to coast into the slot and faking a pass to his left, placed a perfect forehand shot by Dreidger.
A third goal almost came on the power play but Kapanen’s wicked shot found the iron and stayed out on this occasion.
Binghamton were shell-shocked by the turn of events and weren’t able to manage a foray into the Marlies zone until just over five minutes of the second period remained.
Brandon Gormley tested Kaskisuo and the Finnish goaltender certainly hadn’t dropped off mentally despite seeing little action until this point.
Toronto responded to that rare entry into their zone by scoring immediately. A trademark rush down the right from Justin Holl, who wired the puck toward Colin Greening and the experienced forward produced a deft, chip finish over the goaltenders pads.
A further 97 seconds elapsed before Toronto extended their lead once again. Brett Findlay making hay as an intended pass from the home team got caught up with the linesman. While other floundered, Findlay picked up possession, racing away down the right before beating Dreidger short-side.
Kaskisuo would have to remain alert as the home team finished the period strongly, but as they did last Saturday, Toronto held a 4-1 leave over Binghamton with twenty minutes remaining.
Once having killed the remaining 73 seconds of a penalty carried over from the second period, Toronto rarely looked in any danger of letting slip of their three goal lead.
In fact capitulation wasn‘t even a thought as they shut down the Senators, allowing just seven shots on Kaskisuo through the final period.
Dmytro Timashov tested Dreidger at the four minute mark with a low shot from the right circle, and the B-Sens goaltender should have been facing a penalty shot two minutes later.
Griffith was hauled down from behind when in on goal but remarkably the officials called nothing as the Marlies forward crashed into the net.
Toronto had appeared to make it 5-1 on a power play through Trevor Moore, with a good goal the call on the ice. Upon video review it was waived off however, the puck not crossing the goal line the only feasible reason why.
Tobias Lindberg would be robbed by Dreidger in attempting to finish off a pretty tic-tac-toe play as the game wound down, in what proved the Marlies last scoring opportunity.
It was a shame for Kaskisuo that the home team would grab a second goal with a little under two minutes remaining. The Finnish goaltender had little chance of saving a slightly fortuitous goal as Chris Carlisle’s saucer pass hit Jason Akeson flush on the leg and found the net.
Binghamton went for broke with the extra attacker but Toronto held firm to record their third straight win and 35th overall of the season
Post Game Notes:
Toronto are now second in the North Division, level on points with Syracuse who have played one fewer game.
The Marlies dire road record improves to one game under .500 with this victory (15-16-1-1).
Toronto came out on top 4-2 during the regular season series with Binghamton.
Kasperi Kapanen recorded his second straight multi-point game, something he hasn’t achieved since the opening two games of the season.
A seventh point in four games for Mike Sislo as he continues his recent good form for Toronto.
Seth Griffith extended his points streak to seven games with a lone goal.
A seventh multi-point effort for Brett Findlay in just 27 games. Now has ten goals for the season and is riding a three game point streak
Brendan Leipsic’s solitary assist gives him forty points for the season through 39 games.
Kasimir Kaskisuo recorded a third straight win by making 26 saves. The rookie has a 0.955 save percentage in those wins but some of that must be tempered by the level of opposition he’s faced thus far.
Garret Sparks is ready to return to action and will get the start Saturday against Springfield as per Sheldon Keefe.