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Marlies Weekly: Steeves streak continues as the Marlies win twice on the road

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Photo credit:(Photo from Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff)
Bennett Jull
2 months ago
Following their two wins against Grand Rapids, the Marlies had two away games this past weekend. On Friday they travelled to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Bruins before heading to Hartford for a match with the Wolf Pack on Sunday. Let’s dive in!
Typically when a team scores the first and last goals in a game, they generally have a great chance of winning. The Marlies surrendered the first and final goals in the match but didn’t give Providence much of anything else. Dennis Hildeby made 32 saves and collected the win as the Marlies certainly provided him more than enough run support. Eight goals… With their biggest offensive output of the year, the Marlies found the back of the net eight times. Dylan Gambrell led the way with two goals and two assists, Logan Shaw scored twice, and both Mikko Kokkonen and Kieffer Bellows both had a goal and an assist while Joseph Blandisi, Alex Steeves, and Nick Abruzzese all had two assists.
Lots to unpack after this one. First, congratulations to Cameron Gaunce on making his Marlies debut, and picking up an assist. The 33-year-old Ontario native certainly knows his way around the AHL having played in over 800 contests. He will provide a steady veteran presence on the back end.
Gaunce assisted on Matteo Pietroniro’s first goal of the season, who finished an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick. His fight came after his big open ice hit that led to a powerplay. Pietroniro has continued to give the Marlies good minutes, and while he may not fill the scoresheet, his physical presence and strong defensive play have made him an integral piece on the back end in the absence of the callups (Benoit, Lagesson, Lajoie).
The most notable thing to come from this game was Alex Steeves. With those two assists, Steeves set a new franchise record 14-game point streak. He continues to produce at the AHL level, and it’s pretty clear he has the attributes to make a difference in the NHL. If Toronto can’t fit him in, I wonder if he’s dealt somewhere before the year is up. Whether it’s in a Maple Leafs uniform or elsewhere, Steeves has shown he is ready.
Of note, Pontus Holmberg was called up on Saturday to the Maple Leafs on the back of Ryan Reaves getting injured. On Sunday, the Marlies travelled to Hartford for a matinee with the Wolf Pack. Keith Petruzzelli got the nod as the Marlies started quickly, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Kiefer Bellows notched his 8th of the season, while Nick Abruzzese finished off a lovely passing play from Alex Steeves and Dylan Gambrell. With the assist, Steeves’ point streak continues!
Hartford roared back with three goals to take a 3-2 lead into the 3rd period. The Marlies answered through Zach Solow’s second of the year. Joseph Blandisi entered the zone and slipped the puck over to Solow who sniped home. Neither team could find a winner in regular time, so off to overtime we went! In overtime, Keith Petruzzelli made a huge sprawling save which led directly to a two-on-one opportunity for Nick Abruzzese and Topi Niemela. Abruzzese neatly chipped the puck by his d-man, leading to a two-man breakaway. He then put it on a platter for Niemela, who ripped home the OT winner.
With Christmas just around the corner, the Marlies return home this Wednesday for a 7pm showdown with the Providence Bruins. On Friday they travel to Belleville for a date with the Senators. Heading into these games I’ll be looking to see if Alex Steeves can continue his point streak, and if Dylan Gambrell can build off a very impressive weekend. His offensive output led to him being named AHL Player of the Week.
A special shoutout is in order to Bobby McMann, who notched his first NHL goal. Pontus Holmberg earned an assist on the play. Congrats, Bobby!
I hope everyone continues to enjoy the holidays, I’ll check back in next week!

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