Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
If you thought the Toronto Marlies’ 5-2 loss to the Utica Comets on Wednesday was the end of the road for their run up the standings, you were sorely mistaken. The team hosted a pair of games at Ricoh Coliseum on Friday night and Saturday against the Manitoba Moose, and found themselves successful in both, providing yet another boost to their odds of making the North Division’s leaderboard into a bit of a race.
Friday Night (5-2 Win)
The Marlies found themselves on the scoresheet just six minutes into this one, courtesy of Dmytro Timashov. While Toronto was on the powerplay, Timashov took in a pass from Frank Corrado and looked to make a feed himself. While he wasn’t successful, he managed to bounce his attempt off of a Moose defender and into the back of the net. Thirteen minutes later, however, he managed to find Trevor Moore, earning himself a second point and extending Toronto’s lead to 2-0.
The Moose were first to score in the second period, but Toronto kept their foot on the gas pedal. Moore picked up his second of the game at the midway mark, followed by Bryon Froese potting his league-leading 24th goal of the season with two minutes remaining. A minute into the third, Griffith added his third point of the night in the form of a goal, putting the game well out of reach for their opponents. Chase De Leo did add one more tally for Manitoba, but it was as close as the game got, ending in a 5-2 result.
Saturday Afternoon (1-0 Win)
Today’s game was a lot closer of an affair, with much of the action coming in the neutral zone, more of it being under Manitoba’s control, and a lot of the outcome coming down to goaltending. In fact, both Eric Comrie and Garret Sparks were just about perfect; it just so happened that the crack in the armour went in Toronto’s favour.
Specifically, it came from Timashov repeating his magic from last night, attempting to set up Kerby Rychel and instead getting the skate of Dan DeSalvo, sending the puck into the net early in the third period for his tenth goal of the season. Toronto were outshot in two of the three periods today, similar to last night but without score effects to blame, but Sparks stopped all 37 he faced, complimenting Antoine Bibeau’s similarly impressive 35-of-37 effort the day before.
Where The Team Stands Now
With the pair of wins, the Marlies further their grasp of the third seed in the North Division, improving to a 0.538 record (26-22-3-1). Just as key here is the fact that they’re now back in the top half of the league, after being in the bottom four just a month ago. Their goal differential is looking solid at +17 as well; that’s higher than 7 of the 14 teams ahead of them.
Toronto’s next chance to make a jump up the charts comes on Monday, when they take on the Binghamton Senators at the Air Canada Centre in a Family day matinee. Puck drop is at 3:00 PM.