Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
Don’t look now, but another successful weekend has put the Toronto Marlies right back into the North Division sweepstakes. While they weren’t able to get the result they wanted after a 4-1 collapse yesterday, the Blue and White made sure to close out much stronger in a 6-2 victory this afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies got this one started the right way, taking quick advantage of their first powerplay of the game. While Ben Sexton, who put away the tying and winning goals against them yesterday, sat in the box for a trip, Travis Dermott fired home his third of the season to open the scoring. While Toronto didn’t have much control of play for the rest of period, largely thanks to three consecutive penalties of their own, they managed to hold steady until the second.
The middle frame saw the two teams exchange goal both early and late. Justin Holl finished off a very wise odd man rush with Kerby Rychel just a minute in, but Carter Camper responded only eighteen seconds later to keep the gap within one. With five and a half minutes remaining and Frank Corrado in the box, Byron Froese rushed down the ice and, with a nice deke, beat Kenny Appleby to grab a shorthanded tally, his 23rd goal of the season. Alas, it took just 30 seconds for Reece Scarlett to respond by actually taking advantage of the powerplay; a situation not unlike what happened yesterday.
Unlike yesterday, though, the Marlies kept their motors running in a hard-fought third period. Frank Corrado fired a rocket of a one-timer from the point with 7:10 to go to give Toronto their 5th goal, Holl, made another appearance with a top-shelf snipe two minutes later, and Andreas Johnsson capped off the night with his 13th of the season with four minutes to go.
On the other side of the ice, Garret Sparks bounced back from a higher scoring Friday night, stopping 31 of 33; many of those saves being on the trickier side. The effort brought his save percentage back up to 0.924, putting him back in the Top 3 in the league behind Troy Grosenick and Anton Forsberg.
The win gives the Marlies an 8-1-1 record in their last ten games, and moves them up to 0.531 on the season; still good for third in the North Division with Albany above them and St. John’s below them. Their next game comes against Utica on Wednesday; given the AHL’s playoff format, a regulation win to keep the fifth seed far away from third and fourth would be massive.