The Toronto Marlies outplayed and eventually beat the Belleville Senators, by a score of 2-1 (SO).
Mason Marchment - Miro Aaltonen - Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov - Chris Mueller - Andreas Johnsson
Kerby Rychel - Frederik Gauthier - Colin Greening
Trevor Moore - Adam Brooks - Ben Smith
Travis Dermott - Timothy Liljegren
Calle Rosen - Martin Marincin
Andrew Nielsen - Vincent LoVerde
Garret Sparks gets the start
Danny Taylor starts in goal, @max_lajoie returns from injury while Chris Kelly makes his #BellevilleSens debut as we look at the projected lines for this afternoons match-up with the @TorontoMarlies from the ACC! #itBegins pic.twitter.com/vvGNFeq5Hx— Belleville Senators (@BellevilleSens) November 25, 2017
Let’s get this party started.
Right off the bat, Patrick I-brained-Clarke-MacArthur-in-practice Sieloff throws Andreas Johnsson to the ice in what could be considered interference.
Max Reinhart, the oldest of the three Reinhart brothers, finds a way to get by Martin Marincin, who is having a great game so far, and is alone for a partial breakaway. Luckily, Marincin’s partner, Calle Rosen, is there to cover for his teammate... and bat the puck right towards Garret Sparks’ net. Sparks makes a wonderful blocker save and Reinhart somehow earns himself a shot for literally doing nothing.
Patrick Sieloff hits Kerby Rychel high and completely away from the rest of the play, leaving Rychel to hold his face and stumble towards the bench. No call on the play. ACC security better getting ready to hold me back (just kidding I’m 5’9”, 185lbs, I would get killed).
Thankfully, Rychel would return for his next shift without missing a beat.
After Chris Kelly gets called for holding the stick on Trevor Moore, the Marlies head to the powerplay. Kerby Rychel recieves a pass from Chris Mueller with James van Riemsdyk-esque skill, sends the puck between his legs to Andreas Johnsson who rifles the puck into the empty net.
On the next shift, the Marlies get a little loose defensively and give up a pretty good chance that Sparks confidently stops. He has stopped all 13 shots he’s had to face so far in the first period.
Sparks has been hot for a lot longer than your regular hot-streak. His .946 sv% is second best in the league and he’s played nearly twice as much as the first place guy (Cal Petersen of Ontario with a .947 sv%).
Meanwhile, Kasperi Kapanen shows off his puckhandling by making Senators defenseman Erik Burgdoerfer look silly in the offensive zone. He definitely loves to show off his skill when given space. That play yields a hooking penalty, and the Marlies are off to the power play once again.
This inevitable powerplay goal will have to wait until after intermission. In the meantime, I’m off to find some sushi.
Mike Babcock talks a lot about certain players driving lines. Andreas Johnsson is definitely driving his line with Mueller and Timashov. He definitely looks a step ahead
Andrew Nielsen loses a race to the puck and is forced to take a holding penalty.
On the penalty kill, Sparks gets a little scrambly trying to get back into his net (don’t ask why he was out to begin with, just don’t). Filip Chlapik finds the puck in the slot and scores. It’s a powerplay goal.
Sieloff finally gets called for a penalty, sending the Marlies back to the man-advantage. The penalty killers then proceed to do their best Sieloff impression by slashing, and breaking the sticks of two Marlies forwards near the blueline. Is a 5-on-2 powerplay possible? Because that should be what I’m watching right now.
A Brief Defenseman Interlude
Since there hasn’t been very much happening in the second (the #Trap seems to have found its way to the AHL), how about some defenseman updates:
Martin Marincin looks more poised and confident with the puck than I have ever seen before. He doesn’t look like a giraffe when he’s moving from standing still to skating in any direction. His ability to box out players in front of the net is as good as it was with the Leafs. And the most impressive part of Marty’s game is easily his dependability in the offensive zone and at the blueline. It’s crazy to think but he’s become the trigger-man between himself and the shot-happy Calle Rosen. His shot is hard and accurate, he’s been dangling wingers when they get too close, and his pinches have been quick and swift.
Timothy Liljegren still is an 18-year-old defenseman who doesn't like defense. But I’ll give him credit, he’s willing to take a hit to make a play and, for the most part, knows where he needs to be on the ice. Sometimes, however, he gets lost a little late in shifts and doesn’t know where he needs to be.
Christian Jaros of the Senators gets called for holding while in the defensive zone, sending the Marlies to their fourth powerplay of the game.
On the powerplay, Liljegren sends a hard slapshot from the point and into the bread-basket of Danny Taylor, Belleville’s goalie. The shot ended up being harmless but Mason Marchement was right there for a potential tip.
With six minutes left in the game, the Senators dump the puck into the Marlies zone and it’s going to be an icing call when one of the Marlies defensemen touch the puck. Why hasn’t anyone touched the puck? SOMEONE TOUCH THE PUCK! That someone turned out to be a Belleville forward who shoots the puck up and over Sparks. Fold the team, it’s over. Cancel the rest of the game. that was egregious.
Nevermind, turns out the linesman blew his whistle and, thanks to hybrid icing, the play was already dead before unnamed Bellevile forward scored. After a quick half-laugh and a wipe of the brow the Marlies get an offensive draw.
After being down in shots 9-18 at one point, the end of regulation nears with the Marlies leading in shots by a margin of 29-23. The chances have always been there for Toronto but what has changed is that the puck has been getting put onto Taylor’s net.
We hit three seconds left in regulation and the kids start counting down...
And we head to sudden-death Overtime.
Kapanen-Aaltonen-Dermott hit the ice first but they get stuck in their own zone after losing the faceoff, and therefore possession.
The next group, Timashov-Johnsson-Liljegren nearly score twice but can’t get the shot off in the bevy of sticks. The play degrades and Liljegren loses one of Belleville’s players he’s supposed to cover. Fortunately, the best goaltender in the league stones Max McCormick cold.
After the first minute of overtime, the play has predominantly been in Belleviles end. The whistle blows with 7.6 seconds left in the game and the Marlies have an offensive zone draw. A quick timeout later the Marlies win the faceoff and Andreas Johnsson finds himself with the puck and only a sprawling defender and the goaltender in his way. Does he shoot? Of course not, he waits, tries to get the goalie to move, but the shot is blocked and we head to a shootout.
Miro Aaltonen, you get the first shot. He comes in, shoots, and SCORES!
The first shooter for Belleville is the second best Reinhart, who is stopped by Sparks!
Timashov is next. He scores too!
Gabriel Gagne is the last hope for the Senators but Garret Sparks, like every other chance before, stops him as well. Marlies win!
Your Three Stars of the Night:
* Andreas Johnsson
** Max McCormick
*** Garret Sparks