The Toronto Marlies were back at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday night after defeating the Belleville Senators at their new arena on their first visit. They faced the Hartford Wolf Pack in a rare visit from the AHL’s Atlantic Division Saturday.
Starting lines for the Marlies
Andreas Johnsson - Miro Aaltonen - Trevor Moore
Dmytro Timashov - Chris Mueller - Colin Greening
Kerby Rychel - Adam Brooks - Rich Clune
Mason Marchment - Ben Smith - Jeremy Bracco
Rinat Valiev - Vincent LoVerde
Calle Rosen - Timothy Liljegren
Andrew Nielsen - Travis Dermott
Scratches: Paliotta, Holl, Kapanen, Gauthier, Marincin
The Hartford Wolf Pack are affiliated with the New York Rangers, and on their roster is ex-Leaf Peter Holland, who arrived in the Rangers system only a few days ago when they made a trade with the Canadiens.
The Wolf Pack entered the game with only eight wins in 23 games so far this season. The Marlies, however, were on the tail-end of back-to-back games, having played the Senators in Belleville Friday evening. It would ultimately be a very close game.
The game started with the clock ticking down with very few stoppages. It looked like it would be a physical game and Liljegren was the first to be on the receiving end of a big hit.
The Marlies and the Wolf Pack each took two minor penalties in the period, and there were several scoring chances, but there would ultimately be no goals.
On the Marlies side, a notable scoring chance came from Aaltonen, who received the puck from Clune after he stormed the zone with a great controlled entry.
After 16 minutes, the Marlies still had only two shots on goal. Sparks made a lot of big saves, notably one with only a few seconds left on the clock on a shot by Cole Schneider.
The Clune line started the period with another sustained attack, with help from Liljegren to keep the puck in the Wolf Pack zone.
There are several players looking to get that first goal of the season, but none have seemed more determined or frustrated about it than Travis Dermott. Four minutes into the second period it finally happened—and was he ever happy about it.
“It was great to get that off my back. How the game ended up made it that much better,” he added in the post-game scrum.
Still waiting for their first goals are Valiev, Nielsen, Rosen, Brooks, and Bracco.
Things turned around quickly, though, as the Wolf Pack came back and scored. Then they scored again on a power play after a rather questionable slashing call against Aaltonen on John Gilmour (no relation to Doug). The puck was in the net ten seconds after the faceoff.
Dermott also took a penalty for slashing—one of five the officials called in the game—with eleven seconds to go in the period. The Marlies left the second on the penalty down, 2-1.
The Wolf Pack quickly scored their third goal of the game on the power play, which carried over from the end of the second period.
Now down 3-1, the Marlies responded by upping the energy of game. Mueller kicked off their comeback with a great scoring chance where he almost also slid into the net with the puck, but it wasn’t a good goal. Both Timashov and Bracco had looks at the Wolf Pack goalie Alex Georgiev too. Sparks stayed strong in net for the Marlies.
But, the third period would be all about Trevor Moore. His first goal came on the power play.
Down by one with four minutes left, the Marlies then faced the difficult hurdle of a five-minute major penalty and misconduct assigned to Johnsson for boarding Filip Chytil, who had to be helped off the ice.
“It was down in the corner and I didn’t get to see it live. I didn’t like the call when I saw the replay on the screen,” said Marlies Coach Sheldon Keefe, defending Johnsson’s actions and the injury as accidental. “Johnny’s not that type of player whatsoever.”
Keefe discussed his strategy for this point post-game. “We weren’t talking so much about killing the penalty as we were trying to draw a penalty ourselves. We thought that if we could get to four-on-four then we could pull our goalie and get our power play out,” and that is exactly what happened. “Hold on to a puck and look to get them to pull us down, and that’s how it worked out and we were able to get the power play out there.” It was Dan Catenacci of the Wolf Pack who took the penalty for tripping.
With Sparks pulled from the net, the five-on-four yielded the game-tying goal, Moore’s second of the game.
Timashov and Dermott had great scoring chances in the final two minutes, but the game would be decided in overtime.
There was an early chance for the Wolf Pack by Vinni Lettieri but he was shut down when his stick broke.
The hero of the day was Dmytro Timashov. There’s nothing more to add beyond the call in this video clip.
Keefe was obviously pleased with the outcome, saying “it was exciting. It put some energy into our bench and into the rink,” but there was more to his good mood than just another win. “Today was probably the most energy and passion we had. I think we’ve lost some of that and it’s showing up in our game a little bit. That’s why we haven’t been our best here for quite some time.”
Mason Marchment, who has surprised with some big numbers on the score sheet this season, was injured and left the game part way through. “He’s going to miss some time,” noted Keefe. “He was in no condition to come back today. He’s going to be out for a little bit.”
Regarding the two goals by the Wolf Pack against the Marlies penalty kill, Keefe said it wasn’t what they would have liked, but was in part because their best players on the PK were out of the lineup that night. “You get some growth opportunities [coming from] games like this where some of the other guys can learn from it,” he added.
The Marlies are on the road, playing the Laval Rocket next Friday and Saturday. The Marlies have a three-in-three the following weekend, starting with a game in Rochester on Friday night against the Amerks; then hosting the Manitoba Moose at home on Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday game will feature the Marlies annual teddy bear toss.