Tough Defensive Battle at Home
The Toronto Marlies were unable to solve Rochester netminder Linus Ullmark on Friday, losing 2-0 in a tough defensive battle against the Americans.
In a tight game between the top two teams in the North Division, both Ullmark and Garret Sparks were in top form.
Seth Griffith opened the scoring for Rochester with less than 35 seconds remaining in the first period.
Both teams were held scoreless in the second period, with Sparks making some terrific saves to keep the difference at just one goal.
With three and a half minutes left in the third, Sahir Gill scored an insurance marker for the Amerks, as the final score held up at 2-0.
Sparks had 30 saves in total for the Marlies during the contest, while Ullmark made 22 stops for Rochester.
With Friday’s result, the Marlies now move to 22-11-0-0 on the season and Rochester improves to 20-7-3-3.
The Marlies return to action on Sunday for a special New Year’s Eve matinee game against the Belleville Senators.
That game will be available on Leafs Nation Network and AHL Live.
Rochester: S. Griffith (4) PP (Z. Redmond, S. Percy), S. Gill (10) (S. Griffith, K. Porter)
Goaltender: L. Ullmark (22/22)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (30/32)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Garret Sparks stopped 30 of 32 shots. Sparks is now 11-6-0-0 on the season with a .937 Save Percentage and a 1.86 Goals Against Average.
- This is the first time Toronto has been shutout this season.
- Toronto went 2-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-5 on the power play.
- Rochester had a 32-22 edge in shots in all situations.
- Trevor Moore led the Marlies with five shots on goal.
- The Marlies are 16-6-0-0 against North Division opponents this season.
Goals: B. Smith (15)
Assists: C. Mueller (14)
Points: B. Smith (27)
PPG: A. Johnsson (4), K. Kapanen (4), C. Mueller (4)
Shots: K. Rychel (71)
+/-: B. Smith (+22)
PIMS: A. Nielsen (60)
On tonight’s game:
Well they scored on the power play, that’s obviously a big factor in a game that’s a one-nothing game for 50-some minutes. So, that’s a factor, they score we don’t. On the power play they score, on even strength we don’t score and you can’t win games when you don’t score. They played hard, they didn’t give us many chances but we did miss a couple breakaways and hit a cross bar and missed an empty net. We certainly had opportunities but not nearly enough. They played hard, they’re a good team and they are where they are for a reason. We just didn’t generate enough and when you’re not generating and you lose the special teams battle, you don’t have much chance.
On takeaways from the team’s performance:
We thought that coming into the game that there were a lot of things we needed to fix. I thought we did a much better job today defensively. We were pretty loose and giving up a lot of odd man rushes and things like that, they are a very dangerous team in transition so I thought in that regard we were much better today. The area that has been a real issue for us has been special teams and generating offence consistently. So that’s been a factor, with special teams, and we aren’t scoring at even strength enough to make up for it and that is why we are on the wrong side of games right now.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
December 31 vs Belleville – 3:00 p.m. ET
January 3 at Laval – 7:30 p.m. ET
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
The top two teams in the North Division will face off in Toronto for the first time this season on Friday night when the Marlies host the Rochester Americans.
The two sides have met just once this season, which the Marlies won 3-2 in Rochester.
The Marlies (22-10-0-0) will look to regroup and put an end to their current two-game losing streak, having lost by a single goal to Belleville and Syracuse earlier this week.
Rochester (19-7-3-3) come into tonight’s game after losing 3-1 at home on Wednesday night to the Laval Rocket.
Both teams have a points percentage of .688%, putting them in a tie for the top spot in the North Division.
On the season, the Marlies are 16-5-0-0 against divisional opponents.
Coming off of a four-goal performance in Syracuse on Wednesday night, the Marlies offense will look to continue rolling in tonight’s contest against Rochester. Ben Smith leads the Marlies in both goals (15) and points (27).
Andreas Johnsson, who scored in the loss to the Crunch, is second on the team in goals (11) and is tied with Chris Mueller for the second most points (21).
At the other end, the Americans will look to C.J. Smith who has 10 goals and 30 points on the year, placing him second in the league among rookies.
Puck drop for tonight’s contest is scheduled for 7:00 and tickets are still available. Fans can also tune in on Leafs Nation Network and AHL Live.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage, as well as live updates from Ricoh Coliseum.
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