The Toronto Marlies concluded a five game road-trip by taking nine of a possible 10 points on offer.
In the process, they created franchise history by recording eight consecutive victories, became the first team to hit the 30-win mark this season, and reclaimed the overall lead in the AHL standings.
They followed that up with victory back on home ice and yet another win away from Ricoh Coliseum to extend the Marlies‘ point streak to eleven games (10-0-1) entering the All-Star break.
Even more franchise history was made as Toronto recorded a third consecutive shutout, blanking Binghamton, Bridgeport and Rochester.
Special teams were a big factor in the Marlies recent success as they killed 24 of 25 penalties and scored seven goals on 28 power play opportunities. Toronto also improved their road record to 20-4-1. They’ve given up just 47 goals in 25 games on their travels.
– Andreas Johnsson, Justin Holl and Sheldon Keefe kept the winning ways rolling in Utica as the North Division was victorious in the AHL All-Star 3-on-3 tournament on Monday. Johnsson scored a dramatic game winner to complete a 4-3 comeback win (after trailing 0-3) that sent the North to the final. Holl recorded an assist in each of the three round robin games.
– Kasperi Kapanen may have had his six-game point streak broken, but he still posted two goals and a pair of assists over the five-game road trip. After being reassigned by the Leafs, Kapanen returned for the second game in Syracuse and recorded two primary assists on Andreas Johnsson goals off the rush — one a shot-for-rebound off the far pad, the other a nice feed on a 2v1.
– Ben Smith continues to lead the Marlies in scoring with 34 points (18-16-34), having hit the twine on three occasions along with two assists. Toronto’s captain leads the entire AHL in game winning goals (7).
– Mason Marchment returned to action after missing 14 games. He was used sparingly during the road-trip but recorded an assist in the Jan. 19 victory over Syracuse.
– Calle Rosen continues to be snake bitten in front of net, still looking for his first goal despite striking the iron four times in this recent stretch. He did, however, register a pair of his assists, taking his season tally to 10 assists in 36 games. He was unfortunately injured in the home win against Rochester and did not feature in the most recent game vs. Syracuse.
– Call-up Jean Dupuy netted his first goal for the Marlies in his eighth appearance and proceeded to score his second two games later. He’s yet to let the team down in limited opportunities, and he has been an asset on the penalty kill.
– Andreas Johnsson took his season goal tally to 20 with six goals in his last seven games, including his first AHL career hat-trick. The Swedish winger has hit 20 goals in consecutive seasons and now sits at 32 points on the year. He currently sits tied for fourth in AHL goal scoring.
“I think he’s really just carried forward what he did for us last year,” said Sheldon Keefe after Friday’s win over Rochester. “He was a big-time player for us last season and has carried that forward this season. Obviously, he’s got a little more experience and knows what to expect, and is able to use that as confidence. He’s just been a great player for us and is producing at a little bit of a higher rate for us this season. But he continues to be very reliable and responsible no matter what line or position or whether it’s the power play or penalty kill. Wherever we put him, he’s been excellent.”
– Jeremy Bracco dressed for just four games of the last seven games but helped himself to a pair of goals, including his first career power play marker.
– Garret Sparks picked up a pair of victories and gave up just a single goal in each game. He then posted consecutive 31-save shutouts (Bridgeport shootout loss and a 2-0 win over Rochester) to take his season tally to four cleans sheets (tied for league-high). Sparks is 17-6-1 on the season with a .944 save percentage.
– Timothy Liljegren has gotten into four games since returning from the World Juniors. He had an injury scare after an awkward fall into the boards following a hit but didn’t miss any time, and posted one assist, a plus-two and three shots on goal in those four contests.
“He’s been good [since returning from the World Juniors],” said Sheldon Keefe after the win over Rochester last Friday. “I think he’s been real good. He had to play a lot of minutes in this game, especially once we went down to five defencemen there with the injury. He’s a young guy and at times he shows it — different shifts here and there — but he’s playing with a lot of confidence both offensively and defensively, and we’ve been really happy with that. He’s making real good progress.”
– Frederik Gauthier was reassigned to the Marlies and registered a pair of assists in the home victory against Rochester.
– Colin Greening tallied twice to give him 10 goals and 20 points for the season. That matches last season’s goal haul and just four short of the 24 points he accumulated through 2016-17.
– Rinat Valiev failed to see any ice-time in the NHL after a well deserved call-up. After struggling for offense early in the season, Valiev has six points (1-5-6) in his last 10 games for the Marlies.
– Trevor Moore recorded six points (1-5-6) in his last seven, three of which were accrued in the first victory against Syracuse.
– Justin Holl reached the 20-point mark this season with a pair of assists in the most recent victory, surpassing his 2016-17 haul of 19 points (8-11-19) in 72 games.
– Calvin Pickard recorded his first shutout as a Marlie versus Binghamton, also marking three straight victories for him on the road. His clean sheet was earned by posting 23 saves, while he gave up a combined three goals in his other two wins. Pickard now owns a 14-5 record with a save percentage of .928 (sixth best in AHL).
– Defensemen Nolan Valleau (Orlando Solar Bears) and Matt Petgrave (Brampton) were both signed to PTOs but were released without seeing any action.
– Joshua Winquist was recalled by Toronto but failed to dress and has now been reassigned to Orlando. The Marlies have recently recalled forward Max Novak.
Orlando Solar Bears News
The recent 3-3-1 stretch for Orlando keeps them at .500 (19-19-6) and currently sitting fourth in the South Division. The Solar Bears are just three points back of third-placed Atlanta Gladiators with three games in hand.
J.J Piccinich (2-4-6) and Joe Perry (2-4-6) both recorded six points, while Max Novak picked up four points (1-3-4) to surpass the 30-point mark this season (now at 33).
From the blue line, Alex Gudbranson (0-2-2) and Sam Jardine (1-2-3) contributed two and three points, respectively.
Martins Dzierkals managed just a single assist after being reassigned by Toronto before missing a pair of games for an unknown reason. He returned on Sunday and scored the game winner. Orlando is 8-0-0 when Dzierkals finds the net this season.
Joshua Winquist netted his 15th goal of the season during the most recent victory. His assist in the same game saw him reach the 40-point mark on the year (36 games).
Kristian Pospisil was suspended for three games following a high hit during Friday’s game. He still has one game of the sentence left to serve.
Cal Heeter went 1-2-1 through four starts and is now 11-10-4 on the season with a .907 save percentage. He missed the last two games of the recent three-in-three weekend after getting banged up during Friday’s defeat. He has since been called up to the Marlies.
Toronto Marlies Player Stats – January 30
Toronto Marlies Goalie Stats – January 30