Marlies squeak through Thunderbirds to close out weekend


The Toronto Marlies, as a team, ended a three-in-three weekend on a high note this afternoon. While it was their lowest scoring effort of the stretch, the blue and white managed to pull off a 2-1 victory over the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Toronto didn’t quite deserve much in the first period, getting outshot 13-6 over twenty minutes. The Thunderbirds felt that way as well, and showed their disdain by taking the lead with three minutes remaining in the frame, courtesy of a blast by Kyle Rau that beat Garret Sparks. But the Marlies didn’t spend their intermission moping; just four minutes into the second period, Marc-Andre Cliche, who drew in after not playing yesterday, finally picked up his first goal of the season off a feed from Trevor Moore.

Twelve minutes later, Eric Robinson of Springfield was penalized for a slash, and Toronto went to their third powerplay of the game. This one ended up being the charm, as Seth Griffth set up Kerby Rychel, who was unable to finish the play off but put Byron Froese in position to do so.

The final 24 minutes of this game were a nailbiter, especially as the Thunderbirds began to rally back momentum, and double especially when Brendan Leipsic suffered a rather scary injury. Combined with outshooting the Marlies 11-7 in the final period, they also had a couple of great chances; but Sparks was stellar, ultimately stopping 32 of 33 and getting his team the win. Sparks’ save percentage moved up to an impressive 0.924 over 12 appearances with the effort.

With the win, the Marlies pick up four points in three games and improve to 17-20-2-1 on the season, giving them a points percentage of 0.463 and a goal differential of +3. They hop over Rochester to move back to 6th in the North Division, which is still pretty low considering their goal and shot differentials compared the rest of the pack. Two in three is a good start; they’ll try to build on it against Rochester and St. John’s later this week.