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Toronto Marlies advance to top of AHL standings with second win against Belleville Senators

The Marlies won 5-1 to finish up their weekend series against the Senators.

Thomas Skrlj

It was the second of back-to-back games for the Marlies and Senators on Sunday; the Marlies won in a shootout on Saturday, but this game wasn’t anywhere near as close, with the Marlies dominating significant portions of the game.

Lineup vs Belleville on Sunday

Andreas Johnsson - Miro Aaltonen - Kasperi Kapanen
Dmytro Timashov - Chris Mueller - Trevor Moore
Kerby Rychel - Frederik Gauthier - Colin Greening
Mason Marchment - Ben Smith - Jeremy Bracco

Travis Dermott - Timothy Liljegren
Calle Rosen - Vincent LoVerde
Andrew Nielsen - Justin Holl

Calvin Pickard

Scratches: Paliotta, Valiev, Clune, Marincin

First period

The game started with an early call against Liljegren for cross-checking, the Marlies killed it off and then got their own power-play with the Senators Chris Kelly going to the box. Yes, it is that Chris Kelly, the 37 year-old who was drafted in 1999 signed a PTO with the team last week. His previous AHL game was with the Binghamton Senators in 2005.

Despite the Senators leading in shots on goal, it looked like the Marlies had all the real scoring chances. Kapanen, Johnsson and Marchment all got some off but it was Rychel who opened up the scoring.

This was quickly followed by a goal from Johnsson. You might have to watch this a few times to see it, but the pass Aaltonen makes to Johnsson is amazing. Also it’s quite an embarrassing goal for the Senators:

While ex-Marlies player Jack Rodewald made a great attempt to get his team going, the Marlies spent the last half of the period rolling over the Senators in their zone. At one point they had a full three minutes of sustained attack with two full line changes in the process. The Senators simply looked lost.

Colin Greening put up the last of the period leaving the Marlies with a 3-0 lead.

Second Period

Pickard gave the team an early scare, coming out of the net to pick up a puck, but flubbing it. He recovered nicely with a slightly panicked long saucer-dump way down to the opposite side of the ice.

With the Marlies on a power-play, Chris Mueller deflected in a shot from Rosen to put the Marlies up 4-0.

Kerby Rychel got in trouble just after the half-way mark when he was thrown out of the game for instigating a fight with the Senators’ Tyler Randell. Keefe thought the Instigator call could go either way, but that Rychel was probably too far away from Randell when he dropped the gloves and committed to the fight.

Pickard made several big stops in the last few minutes, and kept control of the game solidly for the Marlies.

Third Period

The Senators finally got on the board with a goal six minutes into the period but it was clear that the game was totally over for them.

The Senators pulled their goalie with about 4:40 left, and Kapanen had a nice move to get a breakaway and pop it in to finish up the game with a 5-1 victory.

Bracco had a few shifts towards the end of the game where he seemed to not be able to figure out how to participate, like he wasn’t sure what his linemates expected him to do. He appeared to aimlessly skate around, waiting for someone to notice him there.

Housekeeping

The Marlies have yet to formally name a new captain to replace Andrew Campbell, who left after last season for the Tuscon Roadrunners. None of the players even formally have an “A”, though it is informally assigned.

Keefe says that it is still being worked out. “We have a plan and that plan is to let things kind of manifest themselves and not push it and not rush to anything,” he said after the game. “We want to let things evolve and take place naturally.” It could happen this season, but he is not rushing it.

On the unique challenge of being the number-one team in the league, Keefe noted that while they are aware of it, they try to remain focused on further improvement. “Whether it’s individuals here that got to continue to get better on or off the ice, or us as a team,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we need to do better as a group.”

Up Next

The Marlies play the Syracuse Crunch (Lightning) in a rare Wednesday evening game, followed up quickly with their first-ever trip to Belleville for a rematch against the Senators on Friday.