Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
The Toronto Marlies officially hit “slump” mode on Friday when they fell to the Rochester Americans on the road, but were given plenty of opportunity to pull themselves out of their funk at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday and Sunday against the Hartford Wolf Pack. While their first attempt was unsuccessful, the Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate did manage to poach an important two points out of their the latter matchup.
Saturday (3-2 loss)
Toronto came out sputtering, to say the least, on Saturday night. In the first period, the Wolf Pack outshot the Marlies 15-9, and two of those efforts found their way past Garret Sparks. After the 23-year-old made several key saves to pen the game, Justin Fontaine broke any chance of a comeback shutout eleven minutes in, scoring his second of the year while Justin Holl sat in the box. In the last minute of the period, Tanner Glass was penalized for boarding, giving the Marlies a much-needed powerplay. It worked against them, though, as Marek Hrivik finished off an odd-man rush with fewer than 30 seconds remaining.
Hartford extended their lead to 3-0 early in the third period, at which point the Marlies finally began to push back. William Wrenn scored his first goal for Toronto on a crafty pinch a little over two minutes after the Wolf Pack’s tally, and Kasperi Kapanen followed with a powerplay goal with eight minutes remaining. The team couldn’t find another, however, and skated away with the 3-2 loss.
Sunday (5-3 Win)
At first, it felt like this game was going to have a very similar result; Hartford earned themselves a 2-0 first-period lead once again, and this time only took three and a half minutes to do so courtesy of John Gilmour and Nicklas Jensen. But the Marlies didn’t let them widen their advantage as far as the night before; Kasperi Kapanen scored his 11th of the season less than a minute into the second period, and after Brendan Leipsic drew a pair of penalties in the offensive zone, Kerby Rychel redirected a shot from Andrew Nielsen past Magnus Hellberg.
Hartford regained the lead shortly afterwards, but that only set up for a more exciting third period. Milan Michalek was rewarded for a tough late-second shift by getting a mostly open net to poke his second goal of the year into, and five minutes later, Rich Clune made up for a failed conversion on a 2-on-1 in the second period by burying his first of the season. Brendan Leipsic capped the night off with an empty netter, giving Kapanen his third point of the evening.
Coming Up Next
With the win and loss, Toronto’s record now stands at 11-8-1-1 on the season; still third in the North Division. Their points percentage, which is what the standings are based off of, is at 0.571; a far cry from last year, but still quite decent, especially given that they’re 3-6-1 in their past ten games.
From here, the Marlies head onto the road for a four-game trip, not returning for nearly two weeks. Their next game will come on December 7th against the Utica Comets. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.