The Toronto Marlies wasted no time getting college signing Kasimir Kaskisuo into the lineup, playing him tonight against the Syracuse Crunch in their opening game of the weekend. They also wasted no time extending their lead in the standings, getting their new goaltender his first professional win in a 4-3 result.
The Crunch were the first ones on the scoresheet, as noted rebel wunderkind Jonathan Drouin led an odd-man rush and had the honour of being the first pro to score on Kaskisuo. Toronto responded quickly, though, as Ben Smith redirected a shot from David Kolomatis to tie things up just 54 seconds later.
Late in the second period, Smith struck again. Once again, it was a redirection; this time, Ty Stanton was the one who had a shot redirected, giving him his first AHL point. In the last minute of the period, For the second period in a row, an equalizer was scored in the final minute, as Matt Taormina responded to the Smith tally with a snipe from the point to give the third period a winner take all vibe.
Six minutes into the final frame, Josh Leivo charged into the offensive zone to rip a wrist shot at Kristers Gudlevskis, only to have his shot blocked. As luck would have it though, the puck landed in the direction of Connor Brown who put it back towards the net and gave Leivo a second chance, which he made no mistake on. With Brendan Leipsic in the penalty box, Ty McGinn tied the game once more via a garbage goal in front of the net, giving the illusion that this game was overtime bound. But seconds later, Matt Frattin scored the game-winner, dropping a vintage snipe past Gudlevskis to secure the victory.
Overall, it was a decent first game for Kaskisuo, who stopped 26 of 29. There were a few moments where he seemed to be a bit lost positionally, but much of that can be chalked up to playing in a new system. With the win, the Marlies improve to a record of 49-15-5 with their fourth consecutive win. Surprisingly, they still have a chance at the AHL’s best record in the cap era; though they’d have to win 7 more to top the 2009/10 Hershey Bears. Their next chance comes on Saturday afternoon against the Grand Rapids Griffins.