The Battle of Ontario started with a battle Saturday afternoon at Air Canada Centre. Sixty minutes wasn’t enough to settle the tightly-contested contest, but Dmytro Timashov and Miro Aaltonen were able to score in the shootout while Garret Sparks turned aside both Senators shooters to finish with a 2-1 victory.
Andreas Johnsson converted on the first power play opportunity of the game, as he was able to redirect a pass from Kerby Rychel at the top of the crease to open the scoring. The goal, Johnsson’s eighth, was assisted by Rychel and Chris Mueller, who now has five points in his past five games.
The Senators responded and evened things up just over five minutes into the second period, as Filip Chlapik scored just as a Marlies penalty expired.
After being outshot 21-13 through the first two periods, the Marlies responded in the third by firing 16 at the Belleville net and holding the Senators at just four shots in the final frame.
Despite the third period push, Chlapik’s goal proved to be the last one of the game, as Marlies’ goalie Garret Sparks and Belleville’s netminder Danny Taylor shut the door for the rest of the game and through a 3-on-3 overtime period.
In the shootout, Miro Aaltonen started things off with a goal and Sparks stopped Max Reinhart in the opening round.
Dmytro Timashov scored for the Marlies in the next round and Sparks again shut the door, this time with a pokecheck on Gabriel Gagne to cement the victory.
Sparks finished the contest with 26 saves for his tenth win of the season. He now holds a goals against average (GAA) of 1.50 and save percentage (SV%) of .947 through twelve games.
At the other end, Taylor made 30 saves in a losing effort.
With the win, the Marlies improve to 15-4-0-0 on the season and have now won six consecutive games against North Division opponents.
Belleville falls to 9-9-0-2 with the loss and are now 5-6-0-2 when playing on the road.
The two teams will have just a short break before facing each other again, as they will battle tomorrow at Ricoh Coliseum. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 and fans can tune in on Leafs Nation Network and AHL Live.
Belleville: F. Chlapik (3) (M. Reinhart)
Goaltender: D. Taylor (30/31)
Toronto: A. Johnsson (8) PP (K. Rychel, C. Mueller)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (26/27)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Andreas Johnsson opened the scoring with a power play goal at 13:40 of the first period for his 16th point (8 goals, 8 assists) of the season. Johnsson has recorded a point (3 goals, 5 assists) in six consecutive games.
- Dmytro Timashov scored the shootout winner for the Marlies. This was Marlies first shootout of this season.
- Kerby Rychel registered the primary assist on Johnsson’s first period goal. Rychel has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) this season.
- Chris Mueller had the secondary assist on Johnsson’s power play goal. Mueller has scored five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in his last five games.
- Garret Sparks stopped 26 of 27 shots, as well as all two Belleville shootout attempts. Sparks is now 10-2-0-0 on the season with a .947 Save Percentage and a 1.50 Goals Against Average.
IN THE SHOOTOUT
Miro Aaltonen – Goal (2017-18: 1/1/)
Dmytro Timashov – Goal (2017-18: 1/1)
Garret Sparks – 2/2 (2017-18: 2/2)
- Toronto went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 1-for-4 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 31-27 edge in shots in all situations.
- Calle Rosén and Andreas Johnsson led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
- The Marlies are 10-1-0-0 against North Division opponents this season.
Goals: B. Smith (9)
Assists: C. Mueller (10)
Points: B. Smith (17)
PPG: A. Johnsson (4)
Shots: K. Rychel (46)
+/-: M. Marincin (+13)
PIMS: T. Dermott (26)
On today’s game:
We found a way to get that second point and hang around in a game that after two periods we really didn’t belong in. Those are the takeaways and then we found a way to get it together for a good third. So that would be the positive, that we got better but obviously the first two periods weren’t very good at all.
I think by this point it’s pretty obvious that Sparks is dialed in. He has been great for us all the way through. We know that we can rely on him. I don’t think there was a great abundance of chances against or anything like that but the fact that he just gives them the one, and that is off a breakdown on a puck play behind the net. Otherwise it didn’t seem like they were coming close to scoring today.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
November 26 vs Belleville – 4:00 p.m. ET
November 29 vs Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
December 1 at Belleville – 7:00 p.m. ET
December 2 vs Hartford – 4:00 p.m. ET
December 8 at Laval – 7:30 p.m. ET
The newest edition of the American Hockey League’s Battle of Ontario will begin Saturday afternoon at Air Canada Centre when the Marlies host the Belleville Senators for the first time.
The Marlies come into the contest riding a five-game winning streak, all of which came against North Division opponents. As they prepare for yet another divisional opponent this afternoon, the Marlies will look to replicate their strong performance against Utica on Wednesday, which they won by a final of 5-2 over the Comets.
Belleville enter Saturday’s game coming off of a 5-2 victory of their own, as they beat the Checkers Wednesday night in Carolina. Prior to that game, the Senators had dropped two straight.
As these divisional rivals prepare to face off, the Marlies (14-4-0-0) currently hold the top spot while the Senators (9-9-0-1) sit in fourth. Toronto is 5-2-0-0 at home this season and Belleville is 5-6-0-1 when playing on the road.
Saturday’s game is the first meeting between the two sides since the Senators relocated from Binghamton at the end of the 2016-17 season. All-time against the Senators, the Marlies hold a 22-13-3-2 record.
Ben Smith had an assist in Wednesday’s victory for the Marlies, and he continues to lead the team in both goals (9) and points (17). Andreas Johnsson ranks second on the team in both categories, with 7 goals and 15 points. Johnsson is also riding a five-game point streak coming into Saturday’s contest, scoring two goals and five assists in that span.
At the other end, Belleville are led by Ethan Werek (6G, 7A) and Jim O’Brien (6G, 4A).
With the intensity of this rivalry expected to be in full-swing, special teams could be important in today’s game. The Marlies will matchup with the best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference (88.8%) against Belleville’s power play, which currently sits last in the league (12.2%). The Marlies power play (14.3%) will also look to take advantage of a Senators’ penalty kill which has struggled at times, and killed off just 79.3% shorthanded situations.
Puck drop is set for 1:30 today at Air Canada Centre and limited tickets are still available. Fans that can’t make it to the game can tune in on Leafs Nation Network or AHL Live.
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