Close Fight Against Crunch
The Toronto Marlies stormed back to force overtime and earn a point on Wednesday, losing 4-3 in the extra frame to Syracuse.
In front of a sold out crowd made up of Marlies fans and students on our second School Day Game of the season, Ben Smith opened the scoring in the final five minutes of the first period. Starting the play in the neutral zone, Smith dished the puck to Andreas Johnsson and then received a great cross-ice pass from Johnsson to finish it off with a goal.
The Marlies took a 1-0 lead into the intermission after a busy first period where the two sides combined for 32 shots on goal.
Syracuse tied the game less than thirty seconds into the second period off an Anthony Cirelli goal. Cirelli scored a second five minutes later, giving the Crunch a 2-1 lead after forty minutes.
The Crunch extended the lead early in the third as Dennis Yan scored, but the Marlies charged back from there.
Andreas Borgman was left all alone in the slot and went top shelf at the midway point of the third to cut the deficit in half. Borgman’s second of the season was assisted by Smith and Liljegren/
With just 32 seconds left, Chris Mueller tied things up on the power play as a loose puck squirted out to the side of the crease and force the game to overtime. Smith and Johnsson connected on the assists.
In overtime, Mathieu Joseph scored the winner for Syracuse.
It’s the Marlies first overtime loss of the season and they move to 39-15-1-1 and remain in the top spot of the North Division.
Syracuse improves to 34-18-2-3 with the win.
With a goal and two assists, Smith recorded his fourth three-point night of the season.
Andreas Johnsson’s two assists give him fifty-one points on the season.
The Marlies return to action on Saturday when the Rochester Americans come to town for our annual Superhero Night.
Syracuse: A. Cirelli (13) (M. Joseph, G. Dumont), A. Cirelli (14) (B. Thomas, G. Dumont), D. Yan (10) (G. Dumont, M. Bodie), M. Joseph (10) (E. Pasquale)
Goaltender: E. Pasquale (44/47)
Toronto: B. Smith (22) (A. Johnsson, D. Timashov), A. Borgman (2) (B. Smith, T. Liljegren), C. Mueller (14) PP (B. Smith, A. Johnsson)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (35/39)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Ben Smith scored at 15:55 of the first period and recorded the primary assists on both Borgman and Mueller’s third period goals. This is Smith’s fourth three-point game of the season.
- Andreas Borgman scored at 9:27 of the third period. Borgman has recorded a point (1 goal, 1 assist) in two consecutive games.
- Chris Mueller scored on the power play at 19:27 of the third period. Mueller leads the Marlies in power play goals (7).
- Andreas Johnsson recorded the primary assist on Smith’s first period goal and the secondary assist on Mueller’s power play goal in the third period. Johnsson now has 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 50 games.
- Dmytro Timashov had the secondary assist on Smith’s first period goal.
- Timothy Liljegren registered the secondary assist on Borgman’s third period goal. Liljegren has 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) in 29 games this season.
- Garret Sparks stopped 35 of 39 shots. Sparks is now 21-8-1-1 on the season with a .934 Save Percentage and a 1.89 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 1-for-6 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 47-39 edge in shots in all situations. This is the most shots Toronto has had in a game this season.
- Andreas Johnsson led the Marlies with nine shots on goal.
- The Marlies are 29-9-1-0 against North Division opponents this season and win the regular season series against the
- Syracuse Crunch with a 5-2-1-0 record. Toronto outscored the Crunch 25-19 in the series.
Goals: A. Johnsson (23)
Assists: A. Johnsson (28)
Points: A. Johnsson (51)
PPG: C. Mueller (7)
Shots: C. Rosen (122)
+/-: M. Marincin (+31)
PIMS: A. Nielsen (108)
On today’s game:
I thought we played a good hockey game. There are key moments we would like to have back that cost us goals. Things that really just fed into the way this team (Syracuse) generates goals. The way they scored on the rush, they thrive on turnovers and in transition, we know that and talk an awful lot about that and we didn’t take care of it. That opened the door for them early in the second period to score those two goals. That to me is the difference in the hockey game. We gave up too much ourselves, but we were able to generate a lot and we have not been able to generate much against that team, in fact nobody in the league has been able to generate much against that team. They lead the league in least amount of shots given up and we are up over 40 today against them so that is a positive for us. We had all sorts of chances to score and couldn’t. That said I like the fact that we stayed with it and came back from a hole and found a way to get a point. We lost the All-Star Game there in overtime but it was good effort by our guys here this morning.
– Head coach Sheldon Keefe
March 3 vs Rochester – 4:00 p.m. ET
March 4 at Belleville – 3:00 p.m. ET
March 10 vs Providence – 4:00 p.m. ET
March 12 vs Laval – 3:00 p.m. ET (Air Canada Centre)
March 14 vs Laval – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies and Syracuse Crunch will meet for the eighth and final time this season on Wednesday morning at Ricoh Coliseum.
In the season series so far, the Marlies lead 5-2-0-0 and have won the last two games against the Crunch.
The Marlies (39-15-0-1) enter today’s game coming off a loss to Rochester on Saturday, but remain in the top spot in the North Division.
At the other end, Syracuse (33-18-2-3) have won four straight and seven of their last time, coming off a 3-1 win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Andreas Johnsson, who leads the Marlies in scoring on the season with 23 goals and 49 points, is averaging a goal-per-game against the Crunch. He has seven goals and two assists in just seven contests on the season.
Colin Greening has also had the scoring touch against Syracuse, earning three goals and five points in the regular season series.
For Syracuse, Dennis Yan has been leading the Crunch offense in the season series, with six points (2G, 4A) in five games.
On the season, the Crunch are led offensively by three rookie forwards: Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph and Mitchell Stephens.
Puck drop for today’s game is set for 11:00 am and fans can catch the action on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, NHL Network and AHL Live.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage, plus live updates from Ricoh Coliseum.
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