Ben Smith scored in the final minute of a hard-fought game at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday to lift the Marlies to a 4-3 victory over the Providence Bruins.
The game was just the second and final meeting between the two sides this year, and both proved to be close to the very end.
The Marlies appeared to open the scoring early as Kyle Baun crashed the net and deflected a puck in past Bruins’ goalie Zane McIntyre. Initially ruled a goal on the ice, the call was overturned after a conference among the officials.
Minutes later, Colin Greening found the back of the net from a tough angle low in the corner, scoring his 14th of the season. Vincent LoVerde and Dmytro Timashov had assists on the goal.
Just over four minutes into the second period, Mason Marchment extended the lead. Marchment gloved a puck out of the air, spun and fired on net for his ninth of the season. Calle Rosen and Timothy Liljegren had the assists.
Providence answered back with a pair of goals by Colby Cave with less than a minute between the two, and it appeared the teams would be tied heading into the third.
With just 15 seconds to play in the middle frame, Andreas Johnsson snuck low to the crease and scored on the power play to reinstate the lead. The goal was Johnsson’s 25th and Smith and Chris Mueller earned the assists.
Five minutes into the third, Providence tied the game and the two sides fought throughout the remainder of the period.
The Bruins were sent to the box with 1:05 left to play and Smith wasted little time taking advantage, firing a cross-crease pass that was deflected in by a Providence defender. That goal would prove to be the game winner and gives Smith a Marlies franchise record for most game-winning goals in a single season with eight.
Calvin Pickard was in goal for the Marlies and stopped 23 shots in the victory, his eighteenth of the season.
The Marlies improve to 41-16-1-1 with the win while Providence now sits at 36-20-3-2.
After taking Sunday off, the Marlies return to action Monday at Air Canada Centre for a matinee March Break matchup against Laval.
Providence: C. Cave (8) (A. Blidh, C. Breen), C. Cave (9) (A. Blidh, Z. Senyshyn), K. Agostino (15) PP (A. Czarnik, P. Postma)
Goaltender: Z. McIntyre (34/38)
Toronto: C. Greening (14) (V. LoVerde, D. Timashov), M. Marchment (9) (C. Rosen, T. Liljegren), A. Johnsson (25) PP (C. Mueller, B. Smith), B. Smith (23) PP (C. Mueller, C. Rosen)
Goaltender: C. Pickard (23/26)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
Colin Greening opened the scoring at 7:43 of the first period. Greening has 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) this season.
Mason Marchment scored at 4:06 of the second period. Marchment has 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 34 games this season.
Andreas Johnsson scored at 19:45 of the second period on the power play. Johnsson has recorded 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) in his last 15 games. Johnsson is tied for second in the AHL in goals (25).
Ben Smith scored the game-winning goal at 19:10 of the third period on the power play This was his eighth game-winning goal of the season which sets a new Marlies franchise record for game-winning goals in a season. him for the Marlies franchise record. He also had the secondary assist on Johnsson’s second period power play goal. Smith has a point (3 goals, 7 assists) in his last six games.
Vincent LoVerde had the primary assist on Greening’s first period goal. LoVerde has recorded a point (1 goal, 1 assist) in two consecutive games.
Dmytro Timashov recorded the secondary assist on Greening’s first period goal.
Calle Rosen had the primary assist on Marchment’s second period goal and the secondary assist on Smith’s game-winning third period goal.
Timothy Liljegren registered the secondary assist on Marchment’s second period goal.
Chris Mueller had the primary assists on Johnsson’s second period goal and Smith’s third period goal. Mueller has eight points (4 goals, 4 assists) in his last six games. Mueller has recorded 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) on the power play.
Calvin Pickard stopped 23 of 26 shots. Pickard is now 18-8-0-1 on the season with a .922 Save Percentage and a 2.12 Goals Against Average.
Ben Smith set a new franchise record for most game-winning goals in a season (8).
Toronto went 1-for-2 on the penalty kill and 2-for-6 on the power play.
Toronto had a 38-26 edge in shots in all situations.
Andreas Johnsson led the Marlies with seven shots on goal.
The Marlies are 10-4-0-1 against Atlantic Division opponents this season and 2-0-0-0 against the Providence Bruins with Pickard picking up both wins this season (Oct. 14, 2017 at Providence – 3-2).
Goals: A. Johnsson (25)
Assists: A. Johnsson (28)
Points: A. Johnsson (53)
PPG: A. Johnsson (7), C. Mueller (7)
Shots: A. Johnsson (131)
+/-: M. Marincin (+32)
PIMS: A. Nielsen (110)
On today’s game after the team’s recent play:
I I don’t know if we ever got too down on ourselves or if we were feeling too sorry for ourselves in terms of needing to turn things around. It’s just the ebbs and flows of the season. I like that we got two points today. I like that we didn’t give up a whole lot in terms of control of the game and shots against, things of that nature. I didn’t like the chances we gave up. I thought we gave up way too much on the rush. It was far too much of a free-flowing hockey game here today, all things we talked about not doing. We like the win, we like the two points but we don’t really like the way that we went about it. So, we’ve got some things to continue to clean up here.
On the development of Bracco, Brooks and Marchment as a line:
I feel like they are starting to gain some confidence. I feel like they are playing better now than they have. Partially because we are giving them more opportunity and partially because they are getting more experience and feeling better about themselves. Our lineup is a little bit different here now especially with Aaltonen on the list of guys that are not with us. I think that the extra skill that those guys can add is important. Goals have been hard to come by for us and they scored a goal today as a line and had a few other chances and that is real positive for us.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
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
March 20 vs Springfield – 4:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies will host the Providence Bruins for the first and only time this season on Saturday, marking the first meeting between the two sides since October 14, a 3-2 win in Rhode Island.
Since then, the Marlies (40-16-1-1) have found their way into first place of the North Division and enter today’s game following a week off after Sunday’s victory in Belleville..
The Bruins (35-19-3-2) sit third in the Atlantic and have been successful in the stretch of their last ten games, winning seven of those. They enter play after earning a 2-1 overtime victory in Rochester.
Goaltending has been important for both teams success this season, with the Marlies duo of Garret Sparks and Calvin Pickard have combined for a .930 save percentage this season, while the Bruins tandem of Jordan Binnington and Zane McIntyre hold a .918 SV%. The October game in Providence was Calvin Pickard’s first as a Marlie and he made 33 saves in that outing.
Andreas Johnsson leads the Marlies in scoring this season, averaging a point-per-game with 24 goals and 28 assists in 52 games played. Johnsson had a goal in that 3-2 win back in October.
Ben Smith, who also scored in that matchup, is second in team scoring with 46 points (22G, 24A) on the year.
At the other end, Austin Czarnik has four points in his last two games and leads the Bruins in scoring with 54 points this season. He’s second in goals to Jordan Swarz, who has 18 this year.