Don’t look now, but the Toronto Marlies are making the twenty five games of the season into interesting ones. A few moves in the organization have given the team much more depth than they had to start the season, the goalies are stopping just enough pucks to keep the team afloat, and a little bit of luck combine to suddenly put this team back in the playoff picture. This means every game matters, particularly when facing a team like Adirondack, who is within striking distance. Oh, did they ever strike.
Matt Frattin opened this one up with a powerplay goal towards the midway point of the period, and it opened up the floodgates for more action. Within about three minutes, Viktor Loov followed things up with his fifth goal of the season, and Turner Elson pulled the game back in reach for the Flames.
In the second minute of the second period, Mark Cundari took advantage of Josh Leivo’s penalty box vacation and tied the game. Adirondack controlled most of this period, taking seventeen shots in twenty minutes, but ultimately, that goal was the only one of the frame.
But then, the floodgates re-opened, and they were all in favour of Toronto. Brendan Mikkelson scored his seventh about four minutes into the third period, and just twelve seconds later, Andrew MacWilliam followed him. Exactly two minutes after that, Brendan Leipsic continued his hot start with the team, scoring his ninth of the season and second as a member of the Marlies to make it 5-2. From this point on, Toronto just tried to keep the momentum going, and took in the odd push and shove until the final buzzer.
Three points for Viktor Loov, who has finally been seeing some of his shots hit the back of the net. The young Swede has been the best of the new defencemen this year, and arguably the biggest positive surprise on the roster this year. He now has 20 points in 54 games, which is solid for an AHL rookie.
- Antoine Bibeau stopped 36 of 38 shots in a very good performance. He stopped closed to thirty shots after the Cundari goal and really held it down, allowing the Marlies some breathing room as they figured out how to strike appropriately.
- Josh Leivo lead the team with four shots, but Viktor Loov, Stuart Percy, Ryan Rupert, Greg McKegg, Andrew MacWilliam, and TJ Brennan all had three a piece. That’s pretty rare for this team.
- Byron Froese had another multi-point night, with two assists. both Brendans (Mikkelson and Leipsic) joined Froese and Loov in having multi-point nights.
- Leispic, by the way, has six points in his first six games with the Marlies. Definitely something to be positive about.
- William Nylander was the only minus player on the team tonight, going -1, scoring no points, but getting two shots on net.
- Toronto’s next game is on Friday night against the very same Adirondack Flames.