It was another successful week for the Toronto Marlies, victorious in all three games as the point streak rolls on.

Divisional games have never been more important with the new structure to the AHL standings. Six points taken from rivals now will mean so much more four months down the line.

Game Summaries

Marlies 1 vs. Amerks 0 (OT)

The last game of the November road trip was played just over the border in Rochester on Wednesday evening.

In contrast to the goals fest of the previous weekend, just one strike would determine the outcome of this game. The Amerks began the game brightly and had the better chances during the first period, but it was Toronto who ultimately dominated for large stretches of play. The Marlies would be repeatedly denied by a fine performance from Rochester goaltender Andrey Makarov, who was outstanding in making 36 saves during regulation play.

However, Makarov was helpless 88 seconds into overtime as Toronto struck on a powerplay carried over from the third period. Brendan Leipsic applied the finishing touch after Nylander found him with a deft pass across the crease.

Marlies 5 vs. Amerks 1

Rochester would again provide the opposition as the Marlies finally returned home last Saturday.

The first game at Ricoh Coliseum this November saw Toronto struggle early on. Once again Rochester dominated the early proceedings, leading the shot count 8-1 at one stage.

It took a piece of fantastic play from Brendan Leipsic to break the deadlock.

On a 4 on 2 break for the home side with Leipsic in possession on the right wing, a heads-up Leipsic sent a perfectly weighted pass across to the trailing man on the play, T.J Brennan, who beat Makarov with a wrist shot from the left circle.

Toronto doubled their lead in the second period, with Nylander striking on his ninth of the season. The game was done with as a contest six minutes into the final frame after Panik and Frattin made it 4-0.

Sparks looked on course for a shutout, but that was spoiled when Phil Varone was allowed a shorthanded breakaway and duly obliged.

Sparks would tally two assists in this game, including one on the empty netter scored by Rinat Valiev for his first professional goal.

Marlies 6 vs. Senators 4

On a Sunday visit from Binghamton, with just three officials and the history between these two sides this season, Sheldon Keefe saw fit to switch out Leivo and bring in the muscle of Justin Johnson.

In comparison to the previous two games, this was a timid affair. Toronto made the fast start on this occasion, tallying a powerplay goal inside the opening minute, as Kapanen and Nylander played catch with the puck before the former fired home from the hash marks.

Binghamton deservedly held a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes, and it could have been more if not for the excellence of Antoine Bibeau and some good fortune on Toronto’s part.

Cue yet another brilliant second period for Toronto, as the Marlies fired 22 shots in 20 minutes and turned the game on its head. A three-goal burst in under five minutes began with Nylander scoring on a rebound from Kapanen, followed by Hyman teeing up Panik, before Kapanen played provider on Arcobello’s seventh of the season.

The Senators would fail to go away, pulling back within one on two further occasions, but Toronto held on for a 6-4 victory.

The November “Royal road-trip” finished with the Marlies recording a 6-0-1 record — their best road run in franchise history.

Three wins last week pushed the point streak to ten games, the longest run since 2012-13.
The 9-0-1 record makes them the joint hottest team alongside the Milwaukee Admirals.

The Marlies lead the North Division by eight points, although Albany has two games in hand.

Despite leading the Eastern Conference by three points, Toronto sits second behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton now that the AHL is using points percentage to determine placing in the standings.

A total of 74 goals scored is comfortably more than any other team in the Eastern Conference, with the Texas Stars (Pacific Division) the closest competition with 69 goals for.

Player News

William Nylander owns the outright league lead in points with 23 in 17 games. Last week he extended his point streak to ten games and netted his tenth goal, of which only one has come on the powerplay.

Brendan Leipsic had his most productive week of the season with four points in three games. Both his goals were game winners — the first was an overtime powerplay goal and the second on Sunday was his first at even strength.

It hasn’t been plain sailing for Kasperi Kapanen this season, as he struggled to find his feet early and then battled injury, but we sure saw what he’s capable of in spurts on Saturday and even more so on Sunday. His combination play with Nylander was perhaps a glimpse into the not-too-distant future for Leafs fans.

Richard Panik takes little of the glory when this team is spoken about in glowing terms, but a three-point week saw him hit PPG pace and take over second place in Marlies scoring.

Garret Sparks continued his excellent play, recording a second shutout of the season on Wednesday. It should have been a third on Saturday but for the powerplay unit letting him down on the shorthanded Binghamton goal. His record sits at 8-2-1, and he’s allowed a solitary goal in his last 58 shots faced.

Upcoming Games

Next weekend sees the second “three in three” of the season for Toronto.

In their first trio of consecutive games (Oct 23-25), the Marlies recorded two wins and a loss on the road.

A first trip to Syracuse awaits on Friday before the Marlies come home for a pair of home games against the IceCaps, which could go any which way after the carnage we witnessed the last two times these teams did battle.

More importantly, these are three divisional games, which — as I alluded to earlier — are so critical to win with the AHL’s new points percentage system. I’ll be previewing the weekend later this week in greater detail.

Fri. Nov. 27  — Toronto at Syracuse, 7:00 pm EST
Sat. Nov. 28 — St. John’s at Toronto, 2:00 pm EST
Sun. Nov. 29 — St. John’s at Toronto, 1:00 pm EST

Marlies Player Stats — November 24

William NylanderC1710132384105318.9
Richard PanikRW1641216510003312.1
T.J. BrennanD177815619104814.6
Josh LeivoRW15591476203414.7
Mark ArcobelloC9751222202924.1
Brendan LeipsicLW1738118820387.9
Nikita SoshnikovLW1853864004211.9
Matt FrattinRW1735812010417.3
Zach HymanRW162686801355.7
Kasperi KapanenRW1152740201827.8
Stuart PercyD161672900175.9
Andrew CampbellD16516612001926.3
Casey BaileyRW1024622001513.3
Justin HollD16156121100283.6
Frederik GauthierC171564600147.1
Richard CluneLW13235127101118.2
Sam CarrickC1523544800365.6
Rinat ValievD1714571601185.6
Ryan RupertC83144210742.9
Connor BrownRW80440200220
Viktor LoovD160443800160
Byron Froese (X)C4303-10101323.1
Frank Corrado (X)D7033320070
James MartinD3022120040