The Toronto Marlies scored four straight goals on Sunday to earn an important road victory over the Belleville Senators and snap a three-game losing streak.
It was a strong effort from the Marlies at both ends of the ice, as they controlled possession for much of the game and outshot the Senators 51-16 in the matinee contest.
Belleville opened the scoring as Andreas Englund scored his first goal just before the midway point of the first period, but Garret Sparks slammed the door from there.
Less than two minutes later, Trevor Moore tied the game with a power play marker from the slot. Chris Mueller made a nice play to feed Ben Smith on the goal line, and Smith found Moore with a quick pass to help Moore earn his eighth of the season.
Just thirty seconds into the middle frame, Justin Holl gave the Marlies a lead as he fired a point shot that managed to get through traffic and fool Belleville’s Danny Taylor. It was Holl’s fifth of the season and was assisted by Moore and Colin Greening.
Back on the power play with under six minutes to go in the second, Vincent LoVerde connected on a one-timer after a cross-ice pass from Andrew Nielsen. Mason Marchment had the secondary assist as LoVerde rocketed home his third of the year.
Early in the third period, Andreas Borgman scored a third straight goal by a Marlies defenceman, saving the puck at the blueline, playing it off the boards to himself and going top shelf with a great shot. Smith had the assist, his second of the day, on Borgman’s third as a Marlie.
In goal for the Marlies, Sparks made 15 saves to capture his 22nd win of the season and 71st of his career, moving him into a tie for the franchise lead in career wins. He now has a 1.86 goals against average (GAA) and .934 save percentage (SV%) this season.
The Marlies improve to 40-16-1-1 with the victory, marking the seventh straight season the team has earned 40 wins. Toronto also improves to 30-10-1-0 against North Division opponents this year.
With the loss, Belleville falls to 22-35-1-3. The Marlies lead the regular season series 6-2-0-0 with four games remaining between the two sides.
Holl’s second period goal gives him 22 points this season, setting a new career high in single-season points for him.
Moore’s goal and assist marked his fifth multi-point effort this season, while Smith’s two helpers give him nine multi-point games this season.
The Marlies will now enjoy a week off before returning to action next Saturday when the Providence Bruins come to Toronto for the first and only time this season. Tickets are available.
Toronto: T. Moore (8) PP (B. Smith, C. Mueller), J. Holl (5) (T. Moore, C. Greening), V. LoVerde (3) PP (A. Nielsen, M. Marchment), A. Borgman (3) (B. Smith)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (15/16)
Belleville: A. Englund (1) (T. Randell, D. Ciampini)
Goaltender: D. Taylor (47/51)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
Trevor Moore opened the scoring for the Toronto Marlies on the power play at 11:16 of the first period and later added the lone assist on Holl’s second period goal. This is Moore’s fifth multi-point game of the season.
Justin Holl scored 30 seconds into the second period. Holl has reached a AHL-career season high with 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists).
Vincent LoVerde scored on the power play at 14:36 of the second period. This was LoVerde’s first power play goal of the season and his 11th point (3 goals, 8 assists).
Andreas Borgman scored at 4:05 of the third period. Borgman has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his 11 games with the Marlies.
Ben Smith recorded the primary assist on Moore’s first period goal and later added the lone assist on Borgman’s third period goal. Smith has registered eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) in his last five games.
Chris Mueller had the secondary assist on Moore’s first period power play goal. Mueller six points (4 goals, 2 assists) in his last five games.
Colin Greening recorded the secondary assist on Holl’s second period goal.
Andrew Nielsen registered the primary assist on LoVerde’s second period power play goal.
Mason Marchment had the secondary assist on LoVerde’s second period goal.
Garret Sparks stopped 15 of 16 shots. Sparks is now 22-8-2-1 on the season with a .934 Save Percentage and a 1.86 Goals Against Average.
The Toronto Marlies have reached 40 wins for the seventh straight season.
Garret Sparks has tied Justin Pogge for the Toronto Marlies franchise record with his 71st win.
The Toronto Marlies recorded a season high of 51 shots on net and a season high shots in a period with 22.
Toronto went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 2-for-5 on the power play.
Toronto had a 51-16 edge in shots in all situations.
Andreas Borgman, Jean Dupuy and Justin Holl led the Marlies with five shots on goal.
The Marlies are 30-10-1-0 against North Division opponents this season and 6-2-0-0 against the Belleville Senators. Toronto has outscored Belleville 30-14 with three games left in the series.
Goals: A. Johnsson (24) Assists: A. Johnsson (28) Points: A. Johnsson (52) PPG: C. Mueller (7) Shots: A. Johnsson (124) +/-: M. Marincin (+32) PIMS: A. Nielsen (110)
On today’s game:
I didn’t love how we started the game. I thought we controlled most of that first period but just thought that we gave up chances, we gave up a lot of speed coming from the neutral zone. Sparks had to make some real big saves to keep the game all square. I liked how we came out and just took control of the game right from the start of the second period and obviously scored early but then just had control of the game virtually from that point on. We didn’t give up much from there, really anything and carried the game. It was a real nice way to finish the weekend here and as you say, we got a little chunk of time here for us to decompress and get refocused before we ramp up again for next weekend.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
March 10 vs Providence – 4:00 p.m. ET
March 12 vs Laval – 3:00 p.m. ET (Air Canada Centre)
March 14 vs Laval – 7:00 p.m. ET
March 16 at Belleville – 7:00 p.m. ET
March 18 vs Utica – 4:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies will make a short road trip to Belleville on Sunday, looking to rebound off a 4-1 loss to Rochester yesterday.
The Marlies are looking to snap a three-game losing streak against a Senators team that has won just two of their last ten games.
Sunday’s matchup is the eighth of the season between the two sides, with the Marlies leading the series 5-2-0-0. Toronto has won two of three games on the road against Belleville this season.
The Marlies (39-16-1-1) have been led offensively by Andreas Johnsson and Chris Mueller in the series against the Senators so far. Johnsson, who scored his 24th goal of the season last night and sits second in AHL scoring, has nine points (3G, 6A) against the Senators this year while Mueller has collected a point-per-game, scoring two goals and adding five assists.
Special teams have been important for the Marlies against Belleville this season, as they have converted on 22.2% of power play opportunities and 95.8% of shorthanded situations.
At the other end, Max Reinhart leads the Senators (22-34-1-3) in scoring against Toronto, with a goal and three assists. Belleville enter the game coming off of a 4-2 loss to Bridgeport yesterday.
Puck drop for today’s game is scheduled for 3:00 and fans can tune in on AHL Live and Marlies Radio.