January 07 2017 08:46PM
Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
Sometimes, it takes just one big win to turn the tides around for a struggling hockey team. The Toronto Marlies are hoping that Saturday gave them one of those nights, as the young blue and white earned themselves a commanding 5-0 win over the Rochester Americans.
Rinat Valiev makes it 1-0 for the Marlies in the first period, his second goal of the season and a shorthanded tally. pic.twitter.com/XvzjQSAts7— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 7, 2017
The icebreaker in this game came from a surprising situation. A minute and a half after Brendan Leipsic recieved a roughing minor, the Marlies penalty kill unit put on enough pressure to force an offensive zone faceoff. Byron Froese won the ensuing draw, and Rinat Valiev quickly buried his second goal of the season to put his team up.
Colin Greening gets the assist on Kerby Rychel's 2-0 goal. Good lead for the Marlies to have less than ten minutes into the first period. pic.twitter.com/CL2HGYY5O9— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 7, 2017
It didn't stop there, though; Toronto began an even-strength onslaught. Kerby Rychel picked up his eight of the year just two minutes later. It was the period's last goal, but by the end of twenty, the Marlies already had eighteen shots.
Here's Byron Froese's 13th goal in 30 games, even if unintentional. Much needed three goal lead for a Marlies team that's struggled of late. pic.twitter.com/KCPfYo84bN— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 7, 2017
Their run of form carried into the second, where they outshot Rochester at a near 2-to-1 ratio. Rather than a 2-1 score, though, they opted to go 3-0, courtesy of a Bryon Froese pass that went delightfully wrong.
Byron Froese picks up his 14th goal of the year, tying Kasperi Kapanen for the team lead. Marlies up 4-0 in the third period. pic.twitter.com/z4rX0R4DTD— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 8, 2017
Froese did pick up a for-realsies goal in the third, though; in this case, he roofed a pass from Brendan Leipsic, helping the North Division All-Star add yet another point to his collection. With six minutes and change remaining, Andreas Johnsson took a tripping penalty, but more than made up for it with this:
Meanwhile at Ricoh, Trevor Moore feeds Tony Cameranesi for a shot and Andreas Johnsson gets the rebound. 5-0 Marlies. pic.twitter.com/qXVz9p9yOk— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) January 8, 2017
It was a monumental night overall from the Marlies, who have been struggling to score at even strength all season. Today, they grabbed four at 5-on-5 and one on the penalty kill, showing that the team is still capable, on occasion, of beating goaltenders when even or shorthanded. By the end of the game, the shots were a very lopsided 42 to 24 for Toronto, and the score matched the level of domination.
On the other side of the ice, Garret Sparks put on a clinic. While they didn't need him to be incredible, he stood on his heads in their odd moments of weakness and managed to pick up his second shutout of the season, improving his 2016/17 save percentage to 0.922.
With the win, Toronto's record moves to 15-16-1-1, giving them a 0.485 points percentage. They don't climb up any further in the standings, but with Rochester not horribly far behind them, its good to keep them at bay. They're going to have to do the same tomorrow, though; the two teams will reconvene at Ricoh at 3:00 PM.