The Marlies launched a late rally Friday night in Hartford but were unable to complete the comeback in a tough battle on the road to start a busy three-in-three this weekend.
It was a strong start for the Marlies, who outshot the Wolf Pack 11-6 in the opening frame, but went into the intermission trailing 1-0. Hartford added another in the second, but the Marlies fought hard in the third to close the gap.
Kasperi Kapanen put the Marlies on the board just 1:21 into the third period, finishing off a great passing play from Martin Marincin and Timothy Liljegren just as a Toronto power play expired.
Less than a minute later, on the penalty kill, Vincent LoVerde scored his first of the season as he skated end-to-end and drove the net before tucking the puck in the far side of the net to close the lead to one.
— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) October 14, 2017
The Marlies continued to buzz in the final frame, creating scoring chances, including a great shot from Kapanen that rung off the crossbar and stayed out.
With time winding down, Cole Schneider and Joe Whitney each scored empty net goals for Hartford, who held on to win 5-2.
The goals for Kapanen and LoVerde were their firsts of the season, while Liljegren earned his second assist of the year and Marincin picked up his first point since joining the Marlies.
Garret Sparks made his third consecutive start in goal, stopping 25 of 28 shots in the contest.
The game also marked the return to the lineup for Frederik Gauthier, while Jeremy Bracco made his American Hockey League debut for the Marlies.
For Hartford, Adam Tambellini scored the opening goal, his third of the season, while Cristoval Nieves scored his first to give the Wolf Pack a 2-0 lead. Chris Nell made 25 saves for his second win on the campaign.
The Marlies, who are now 2-1-0-0 early in the season, head to Providence tomorrow for a match-up against the Bruins (2-0-0-0).
Puck drop is at 7:05 on AHL Live or Marlies Radio.
Toronto: K. Kapanen (1) (M. Marincin, T. Liljegren), V. LoVerde (1) SHG (unassisted)
Goaltender: G. Sparks 25/28
Hartford: A. Tambellini (3) (C. Nieves, S. Kosmachuk), M. Puempel (1) (F. Chytil, R. Graves), C. Nieves (1) (S. Kosmachuk, J. Whitney (2), C. Schneider (1) EN (S. Kosmachuk), J. Whitney (3) EN (unassisted)
Goaltender: C. Nell 25/27
FROM THE SCORESHEET.
- Kasperi Kapanen put the Marlies on the board with his first of the season at 1:21 of the third period. Last season, Kapanen registered 43 points (18 goals, 25 assists) in 43 games.
- Vincent LoVerde scored his first of the season with a shorthanded goal at 2:06 of the third period to cut the lead in half. LoVerde appeared in 61 games with the Ontario Reign last season, collecting 35 points (9 goals, 26 assists).
- Martin Marincin picked up his first point as a Marlie with the primary assist on Kapanen’s third period goal.
- Timothy Liljegren collected his first assist as a Marlie and now has points in consecutive games (1 goal, 1 assist).
- Garret Sparks stopped 25 of 28 shots in his first loss of the season. Sparks is now 2-1-0-0 on the season with a .914 Save Percentage and a 2.36 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto went 4-for-5 on the penalty kill and 0-for-6 on the power play.
- Hartford had a 30-27 edge in shots in all situations.
- Both Martin Marincin and Timothy Liljegren registered four shots on goal.
- The Marlies are 0-1-0-0 against Atlantic Division opponents this season.
- Goals: Kerby Rychel (2)
- Assists: Andreas Johnsson (2), Ben Smith (2), Andrew Nielsen (2)
- Points: Andreas Johnsson (3), Ben Smith (3)
- PPG: Kerby Rychel (2)
- Shots: Nikita Soshnikov (12)
- +/-: Ben Smith (+4)
- PIMs: Mason Marchment (9)
Overall thoughts: I thought we got outskated and outworked for a good chunk of the game, especially in that second period. They really got skating, we didn’t slow them up and didn’t spend enough time with the puck ourselves so we were really chasing it for a while there. We had a much better response in the third period, played a lot better but not enough to dig ourselves out of the hole we dug for ourselves. We had a good week of practice, thought we’d come out a little better than we did. Some things we talked about cost us some goals against here today and really just didn’t execute what we wanted to do defensively and it hurt us. We had our opportunities in the third but just not enough.
On the powerplay: We had one really good powerplay with that minute we had at the end of the second period, probably our best powerplay of the season so far. But not enough of it, we are still out of sorts there a little bit. We’ve got to get more organized on that and do a better job with it. The confidence, we’ll get that sorted out. It’s just going to take a bit more time. We’ve got some people playing in different spots than they’re used to. We haven’t had a lot of game action but we’ll get there, we just have to continue to work at it. In the meantime, we’ve got to figure out a way to keep it out of our net on the penalty kill. We have to be able to do that, we haven’t done that very well. We have to buy ourselves a bit of time there until our powerplay really gets going. We didn’t do that today and it ultimately cost us.
– Sheldon Keefe, Toronto Marlies Head Coach
October 14 at Providence – 7:05 p.m. ET
October 15 at Springfield – 3:05 p.m. ET
October 21 vs Charlotte – 4:00 p.m. ET
October 22 vs Charlotte – 4:00 p.m. ET
October 27 at Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies are headed to Hartford tonight for the opening game of a busy three-in-three weekend across New England.
The Marlies will look to build on momentum gained after a pair of wins on opening weekend in Toronto, defeating the Utica Comets 3-1 and 4-3, last Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Kerby Rychel scored a pair of power play goals in last weekend’s games, as part of a special teams unit that went 3-for-14 on the man advantage against the Comets.
Forwards Ben Smith and Andreas Johnsson lead the Marlies in points entering play, as each earned a goal and two assists at Ricoh Coliseum last weekend.
Rich Clune, Timothy Liljegren and Nikita Soshnikov all found the back of the net on opening weekend, as well.
For the Wolf Pack, they will finish up a three-game home stand after dropping their season opener to Charlotte 5-4, and defeating the Lehigh Valley Phantoms 2-1 in a shootout last weekend.
Adam Tambellini leads Hartford in scoring with two goals in two games along with Joe Whitney who has a goal and an assist.
This week, Hartford added forward Filip Chytil, who was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers.
One question mark for the Wolf Pack entering the game is around their goaltending. Hartford are rolling with a duo of rookie netminders in Chris Nell and Alexandar Georgiev. Nell stopped 28 of 29 shots in his victory, while Georgiev allowed five goals on 24 shots in Hartford’s loss to the Checkers.
On special teams, the Wolf Pack enter with a power play that went 1-for-7 on opening weekend and a penalty kill that had an 87.5% success rate.
Puck drop for tonight’s game is at 7:15 pm and you can catch all the action on AHL Live or by listening in on marlies.ca.