Hard Work Lifts Marlies Over Laval
The Toronto Marlies started 2018 with a strong effort on the road, defeating the Laval Rocket by a 5-2 final on Wednesday night.
With the victory, the Marlies remain undefeated in Laval this season, earning their fourth win of the season over the Rocket at Place Bell.
Andreas Johnsson opened the scoring for the Marlies, tapping in the puck from the side of the net after a great pass by Chris Mueller. Rinat Valiev, who led the breakout and carried the puck into the neutral zone with speed, earned the secondary assist.
Less than a minute and a half into the second period, Kerby Rychel extended the lead to two goals as he unleashed a cannon from the high slot for his seventh of the season. Adam Brooks and Travis Dermott had the assists on the goal.
Laval cut into the lead less than one minute later as Daniel Audette scored his seventh this season.
With eight minutes remaining in the second, Adam Brooks deflected a point shot from Dermott to reclaim the two-goal lead. The goal was Brooks’ second in as many games, and Rychel earned the second assist on the marker.
That score held up at the second intermission as the Marlies started the third leading 3-1.
The Rocket capitalized on a power play opportunity to cut the lead to 3-2 with 5:40 remaining in the third, but Rinat Valiev quickly responded with a point shot through traffic to extend the lead back to two.
In the final minute of play, Chris Mueller banged in a rebound on the power play to finish off the game with a 5-2 final. Dermott and Ben Smith had the helpers on Mueller’s eighth of the season.
Garret Sparks made 22 saves in the victory, his thirteenth this season.
Rychel, Mueller, Brooks and Valiev all finished the game with a goal and an assist, while Dermott had three helpers in the contest.
With the win the Marlies improve to 24-11-0-0 on the season and 15-4-0-0 playing away from home. Additionally, the Marlies hold a 17-6-0-0 record against North Division opponents this year.
The Marlies will now return to Toronto for a pair of games this weekend against Atlantic Division teams, facing Lehigh Valley on Friday and Bridgeport on Saturday.
Toronto: A. Johnsson (13) (C. Mueller, R. Valiev), K. Rychel (7) (A. Brooks, T. Dermott), A. Brooks (2) (T. Dermott, K. Rychel), R. Valiev (1) (Unassisted), C. Mueller (8) PP (B. Smith, T. Dermott)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (22/24)
Laval: D. Audette (7) (M. Eisenschmid), A. Cracknell (9) PP (M. Taormina)
Goaltender: C. Lindgren (27/32)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Andreas Johnsson opened the scoring for the Marlies at 6:12 of the first period. Johnsson has four points (3 goals, 1 assist) in five games.
- Kerby Rychel had the second goal for the Marlies at 1:23 of the second period and later added the secondary assist on Brooks’ game-winning goal.
- Adam Brooks scored the game-winning goal and his second of the season at 12:00 of the second period and earlier registered the primary assist on Rychel’s second period goal. This is Brooks’ first multi-point game of the season.
- Rinat Valiev scored his first goal of the season at 16:51 of the third period and earlier had the secondary assist on Johnsson’s first period goal.
- Chris Mueller scored the Marlies fifth goal of the game on the power play at 19:05 of the third period. He earlier registered the primary assist on Johnsson’s first period goal for his team-leading 16th assist this season.
- Travis Dermott recorded the secondary assist on Rychel’s second period goal, the primary assist on Brooks’ second period goal and the secondary assist on Mueller’s third period goal. Dermott has 12 points (2 goals, 10 assists) in his last 10 games.
- Ben Smith had the primary assist on Mueller’s third period goal for his team-leading 28 points (15 goals, 13 assists).
- Garret Sparks stopped 22 of 24 shots. Sparks is now 13-6-0-0 on the season with a .936 Save Percentage and a 1.83 Goals Against Average.
- The Toronto Marlies announced today that Ben Smith will serve as the team’s captain and Rich Clune and Colin Greening will serve as alternate captains for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.
- Toronto went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 32-24 edge in shots in all situations.
- Chris Mueller led the Marlies with six shots on goal.
- The Marlies are 18-6-0-0 against North Division opponents this season. The Marlies are 4-1-0-0 against the Laval Rocket with seven games left in the series.
Goals: B. Smith (15)
Assists: C. Mueller (16)
Points: B. Smith (28)
PPG: A. Johnsson (5), C. Mueller (5)
Shots: K. Rychel (77)
+/-: B. Smith (+23)
PIMS: A. Nielsen (60)
On tonight’s game:
I didn’t think today was quite as good as our game the other night. But there were signs of that here today. It was a strange game. A little bit more defensive and slow start to the game for both teams with not a lot happening. The game came to life a little bit in the second period and I think we got a little bit more of a taste of what we want to do. And then the third period, I thought our penalty kill was really good. And obviously giving up the goal was unfortunate but I loved our response after that. It was a really good response from our team to just go out and take control of the game and not just sit on our heels and let them build any sort of momentum. That’s a real positive sign to finish the game and get a good road win here.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
January 5 vs Lehigh Valley – 7:00 p.m. ET
January 6 vs Bridgeport – 4:00 p.m. ET
January 12 at Charlotte – 7:15 p.m. ET
January 13 at Charlotte – 6:00 p.m. ET
January 19 at Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies will look to build off Sunday’s 5-1 victory when they travel to Laval on Wednesday night to face off against the Rocket, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.
It marks the seventh straight game against a divisional opponent for the Marlies, who currently hold a 16-6-0-0 record against other North Division teams this season.
The Marlies (23-11-0-0) enter the game tied for the top spot in the North Divison, after defeating Belleville by four goals on New Year’s Eve. In four meeting this season against Laval, the Marlies have won three of them.
The Rocket (14-14-5-2) currently sit fourth in the division and are 7-8-2-1 when playing at home this season.
Travis Dermott will look to build on a three-point performance on Sunday in his return to the lineup.
Ben Smith leads the Marlies in scoring this season with 15 goals and 27 points through 34 games. Andreas Johnsson, who had a goal in Sunday’s win over Belleville, is second in team scoring with 12 goals and 22 points.
At the other end, Laval enters play on a three-game winning streak after defeating Rochester 4-2 in their last outing. The Rocket are led offensively by Chris Terry (18G, 20A) and Matt Taormina (2G, 25A).
Puck drop for tonight’s game is set for 7:30 and fans can tune in on AHL Live or listen in with Todd Crocker on Marlies Radio.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage, plus live in-game updates, from Place Bell.
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