The Toronto Marlies returned home Sunday to host the league-leading Charlotte Checkers following a successful two games on the road. A busy weekend caught up to them as the Marlies struggled to get something going today and dropped a 5-0 decision to the Checkers.
The visiting Checkers scored three goals in the opening frame, giving themselves an early cushion. The first came from Trevor Carrick at 8:22, assisted by Janne Kuokkanen. The second from Checkers’ leading-scorer, Andrew Poturalski at 13:19 from Dan Renouf and Nicolas Roy. At 16:24, the Marlies saw an opportunity as Dymtro Timashov was hauled down on a partial breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. Alex Nedeljkovic stuck with him Timashov and shut to door to keep the Marlies off the board. Late in the frame, the Checkers converted on a power play opportunity as Julien Gauthier notched his 11th of the season.
The Checkers added a goal in the second and third from Martin Necas and Morgan Geekie respectively. The Marlies pressured hard in the third looking to get on the board, but Charlotte goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned away all 34 shots he faced to earn the shutout.
The Marlies are back home on Wednesday, January 9 to host the Utica Comets for a 7:00 PM start at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Charlotte: T. Carrick (6) (J. Kuokkanen), A. Poturalski (15) (D. Renouf, N. Roy), J. Gauthier (11) PP (M. Necas, J. Bean), M. Necas (9) (J. Bean, A. Poturalski), M. Geekie (11) (Z. Natasiuk) Goaltender: A. Nedeljkovic (34/34)
Toronto: No goals Goaltender: K. Kaskisuo (25/30)
ON THE SCORESHEET
Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 25 of 30 shots he faced. Kaskisuo is now 4-6-1-0 on the season with a .868 Save Percentage and a 3.92 Goals Against Average.
This is only the second time this season the Marlies have been shutout.
Toronto went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the power play.
Toronto had a 34-30 edge in shots in all situations. Pierre Engvall led the Marlies with eight shots on goal.
The Marlies are 3-3-0-0 against Atlantic Division opponents and are 1-1-0-0 against the Charlotte Checkers this season. Toronto previously defeated Charlotte in overtime 5-4 on Sunday, January 6.
Toronto is playing eight games split evenly between home and the road over 16 days from December 28 to January 12. Through five games, the Marlies are currently 3-2-0-0 and have been outscored by their opponents 17-16. Through this span, they will face the Rochester Americans three times, the Charlotte Checkers twice as well as the Syracuse Crunch, Binghamton Devils and the Utica Comets.
REGULAR SEASON LEADERS
Goals: C. Mueller (19)
Assists: J. Bracco (26)
Points: C. Mueller (38)
PPG: C. Mueller (9)
Shots: S. Gagner (100)
+/-: C. Grundstrom (+6)
PIMS: S. Oleksy (51)
The Marlies are 2-10-2-2 when trailing after the first period and 1-13-1-1 when trailing after the second period.
Toronto is 10-8-2-1 when outshooting their opponent.
The Marlies are 2-3-1-0 in Sunday games and are 2-1-0-0 in January.
CURRENT POINT STREAKS
Andreas Borgman (concussion) did not dress for today’s game. He left Toronto’s game on December 19 against Binghamton and did not return.
Timothy Liljegren (ankle) did not dress for today’s game. He is week-to-week with a high ankle sprain.
Steve Oleksy (head) did not dress for today’s game. He left Toronto’s game on January 5 against Syracuse and did not return.
Rasmus Sandin (elbow sprain) did not dress for today’s game following an injury sustained during the World Juniors.
January 6: Returned goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo on loan from Toronto (NHL).
January 5: Recalled goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo from loan by Toronto (NHL.
January 4: Returned goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo on loan from Toronto (NHL).
January 3: Recalled goaltender Michael Garteig from loan to Newfoundland (ECHL).
January 3: Recalled goaltender Michael Hutchinson from loan by Toronto (NHL).
January 3: Recalled goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo from loan by Toronto (NHL).
January 2: Recalled forward Trevor Moore from loan by Toronto (NHL).
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the biggest difference with playing against Charlotte today:
Well I thought the script kind of flipped. I thought when we played them on Monday their goaltender struggled and we built the lead and got confidence off of that. Today, I thought our goaltender struggled early, so that flips the game and they get the lead and part of the difference between the two teams and where the two teams are at is that their goaltender struggled and they just kept playing and dug in and climbed their way back and got a point. For our team the way things have gone all year is we’ve sort of dug the hole deeper, so that was sort of the difference but I think also, while their goaltender struggled on Monday, he was outstanding today and we had a breakaway, a 2-on-0, a penalty shot in the first period and nothing to show for it and then we did give up chances and they ended up in our net on the other side. As we’ve seen all year, our team is fragile and it’s not found its way out of that and that’s what we’re going to have to do, we have to be able to be resilient and keep playing.
On the message to the players:
Well I think it’s just to focus on the positives that we’ve had throughout the week and there’s a lot of positives in this game as well. Like I said, a little bit better execution early in the game, and I thought we had a really strong push to start in the second period especially, and we didn’t get anything to fall for us. There’s a number of positives in the game. When you look at how the game went, like I said not finishing those chances early, not getting a chance for our power play to be a factor in the game, those are issues for us and it forces us to really play at even strength and generate offence at even strength has just been a challenge for us.
January 9 vs Utica – 7:00 p.m. ET
January 11 at Rochester – 7:05 p.m. ET
January 12 vs Rochester – 4:00 p.m. ET
January 19 at Charlotte – 6:00 p.m. ET
January 20 at Charlotte – 1:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies (17-13-3-2) return home today to close out a three in three weekend after a successful two games on the road. The Marlies have combined for 10 goals so far this weekend after defeating the Binghamton Devils 5-1 and the Syracuse Crunch 5-2. With a quick turnaround, the Marlies will have their work cut out for them as they host the league-leading Charlotte Checkers (26-8-3-0) today for a 4:00 PM start at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
This marks the second meeting between the Eastern Conference rivals, with the Marlies leading the season series after a dramatic overtime win on home ice on New Year’s Eve. Coming into today’s game, both teams are riding the high of three-game win streaks as the Checkers doubled up on the Belleville Senators 6-3 last night and the Marlies topped the Crunch 5-2.
Players to watch: Charlotte’s Andrew Poturalski sits seventh in league-scoring with 36 points and is currently on a four-game point streak. After tallying two points in last night’s contest, Marlies forward Chris Mueller reached the 500-point milestone. Mueller continues to lead the Marlies with 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists). Adam Brooks has five points in two games, including two goals in last night’s contest in Syracuse. Sam Gagner now has 28 points in 29 games including seven in his last four games.
Puck drops at 4:00 PM and fans can catch the action on Leafs Nation Network, AHLTV, TSN 2 or can stream the game live in the Maple Leafs App. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for behind-the-scenes action at Coca-Cola Coliseum.