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Recap: Marlies 4, Crunch 3 (OT)

In the absence of a Leafs' game recap, why not read about the baby Leafs?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

Marlies lines from Reddit:

Josh Leivo

William Nylander

Richard Panik

Kasperi Kapanen

Mark Arcobello

Zach Hyman

Brendan Leipsic

Sam Carrick

Matt Frattin

Richard Clune

Frederik Gauthier

Casey Bailey

Nikita Soshnikov

Brett Findlay

Justin Johnson

Ryan Rupert

Connor Brown

Scott Harrington

T.J. Brennan

Andrew Campbell

Rinat Valiev

Viktor Loov

Justin Holl

Stuart Percy

James Martin

The Toronto Marlies came out of the gate flying, hemming the Syracuse Crunch in for the first four and half minutes of the first period, as each Marlie line had a good look on net. Crunch goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had to come up with several big saves to keep the Marlies off the score sheet.

Finally, the Crunch managed to break into the Marlies' zone, and managed four shots on goal as the Nylander line scrambled defensively to clear the puck. It was Tye McGinn who finally lifted a rebound over a sprawling Antoine Bibeau to open the scoring and begin the teddy bear toss in Syracuse.

Rich Clune drove hard to the Crunch net a few minutes later in the first and managed to draw the game's first penalty, but the Marlies' 11th-ranked power play was unable to set up very well. Brendan Leipsic nearly tapped home the tying goal on a broken play, but Vasilevskiy managed to get a toe on the puck while in the splits.

The Marlies continued to control the game and the Crunch became increasingly frustrated, with things getting correspondingly chippy after whistles. The Crunch's penalty trouble began to mount, as Joey Mormina got a roughing call, and the Marlies made sure to make the Crunch pay.

William Nylander, manning the point/weak-side wall position with the man advantage, fed T.J. Brennan, who blasted a point shot by Vasilevskiy to open the scoring at 15:00 in. Richard Panik was credited with the secondary assist. It would be just the beginning for the Marlies' offensive explosion in the first period.

Next, it was Matt Frattin's turn to strike, as he snapped home a big rebound at 16:06 that came off a Sam Carrick shot. The net was dislodged from its moorings on the play, but not before the puck entered the net. Brendan Leipsic picked up the secondary assist.

Then, at 17:16, Andrew Campbell scored the Marlies' third straight goal in the span of just two minutes and sixteen seconds. He and Leipsic entered the Crunch zone on a 2-on-1 and Campbell made no mistake.

Really, aside from the scramble in their own zone, the period was a great one for the baby Leafs. The shots at the end of 20 minutes were 18-8 in their favour, and even the Crunch's announcers had to admit that it was a domination.

The second period began with the Marlies on the penalty kill, as Zach Hyman had taken a penalty late in the first period for slashing. Interestingly, Nylander was out killing off the penalty and did so successfully, even managing to generate a good rush towards the end.

Overall, the period was a tighter-checking 20 minutes, and the game was much more evenly played. Frattin picked up two consecutive unnecessary penalties that allowed the Crunch to get some extra zone time, but no damage was done on the scoreboard. The teams tallied 8 shots apiece to bring the totals to 26-16 for the Marlies.

The Marlies got running around in their own zone early in the third only to have Carrick take a slashing penalty, and then have the Crunch's Matt Taormina tie the game with a wrist shot from the point. Bibeau was screened quite effectively, and it appeared that he did not see the shot at all.

Toronto went on to get themselves into all kinds of penalty trouble as the period wore on. First, it was Richard Panik who took a hooking penalty. The Marlies killed it off, but next it was Kasperi Kapanen who took an offensive zone slashing penalty. Then, with Kapanen in the box, the Marlies took a bench minor for too many men on the ice and gave the Crunch a 5-on-3. The good guys killed off all of it.

Unfortunately, the Marlies couldn't hold off the Crunch for much longer. After a fantastic chance for the Crunch from the middle of the slot, the rebound careened off a Marlie defender's helmet and into the net. Initially, the referee made a 'no goal' call, because he thought that it was directed into the net by a hand, but after reviewing the play, it was announced as a good goal with 2:21 remaining in the third.

With the teams tied at the end of regulation, overtime began with the Marlies holding a 35-33 lead in the shot department, but really, it was the Crunch who pushed back and had been carrying the play for the second half of the game.

In overtime, it was Kapanen who rushed up ice and made a great move to create a chance for himself. Vasilevskiy made the initial save, but Rinat Valiev followed up on the shot and stuffed home the rebound to push the Marlies' streak to five consecutive wins.

Notes on individual players:

- In some ways, William Nylander is similar to Phil Kessel. Great wrist shot, can skate like the wind, strong playmaking abilities, and what you might call a laissez-faire approach to puck retrieval. Nylander had a very good number of chances to score and create offence in this one, and he did collect a point, but it is also true that he better fits the profile of 'sniper' than a player who dominates the game.

- Kasperi Kapanen was invisible through much of this one with the exception of a handful of offensive chances. His rush at the end of the game was pretty, but I want to see more of it. I would love it if the Leafs could bring him up to play him on Nylander's wing next year, but I don't see him being ready yet.

- Brendan Leipsic can really fly. He used his speed very well in this one on the rush but also to get back and cover for defencemen. He collected two assists in this one and was a standout for the Marlies.

- Matt Frattin had a ho-hum game. He scored a goal, but also took two unnecessary penalties and didn't exactly look dominant out there in the way you might expect someone to if they are on the cusp of NHL-level talent.

- Antoine Bibeau had a decent game, but he needs to control his lateral movement a bit more. His movements are a bit wild and make it more difficult for him to make second saves. Moreover, he appears has some trouble with rebound control.

- T.J. Brennan and Andrew Campbell were important pillars for the Marlies tonight, both in the offensive end and in their own. They had a goal apiece and also contributed to the penalty kill. This Marlies team is indeed young, but veteran players like Brennan and Campbell are invaluable.