The Toronto Marlies stormed back from a 2-0 deficit in the first period to earn a thrilling overtime victory over the visiting Utica Comets on Thursday morning.
Jalen Chatfield and Tanner MacMaster scored a pair of goals for the Comets in the first period but Pierre Engvall had a response early in the second, firing a one-timer from the hashmarks to close the deficit to a single goal. It was Engvall’s third goal since joining the Marlies on a PTO, while Dmytro Timashov and Andrew Nielsen collected assists.
Past the midway point of the third, Vincent LoVerde also connected on a one-timer to tie the game up. Nielsen had his second assist of the game while Trevor Moore had the other helper on LoVerde’s eighth of the season.
That goal would send the game to overtime, where the Marlies secured a victory after Adam Brooks took a pass from Moore out front and went upstairs.
Garret Sparks made 23 saves for his 30th win of the season, setting a new franchise record for most single season victories.
With the victory, the Marlies have now won five straight games.
The two sides will meet again tomorrow night in Utica.
The Marlies improve to 51-18-1-1 with the victory while the Comets fall to 36-24-7-4.
Utica: J. Chatfield (2) (T. MacMaster, L. Jasek), T. MacMaster (2) (M. Chaput, L. Jasek)
Goaltender: R. Bachman (39/42)
Toronto: P. Engvall (3) (D. Timashov, A. Nielsen), V. LoVerde (8) (A. Nielsen, T. Moore), A. Brooks (7) OT (T. Moore, J. Holl)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (23/25)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
Pierre Engvall scored at 1:39 of the second period. Engvall has recorded five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his six games with Toronto.
Vincent LoVerde scored at 11:53 of the third period. LoVerde has 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) this season, with eight points (6 goals, 2 assists) recorded in his last 13 games.
Adam Brooks scored the game-winning goal at 4:27 of overtime. Brooks has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in his last 10 games. This was Brooks’ second overtime game-winning goal of the season with his first against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on March 20.
Dmytro Timashov registered the primary assist on Engvall’s second period goal. Timashov has recorded a point (1 goal, 3 assists) in three consecutive games.
Andrew Nielsen had the secondary assist on Engvall’s second period goal and the primary assist on LoVerde’s third period goal. Nielsen has registered a point (3 assists) in two consecutive games.
Trevor Moore recorded the secondary assist on LoVerde’s third period goal and the primary assist on Brooks’ overtime game-winner. Moore has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games.
Justin Holl registered the secondary assist on Brooks’ overtime game-winning goal.
Garret Sparks stopped 23 of 25 shots. Sparks is now 30-9-1-1 on the season with a .936 Save Percentage and a 1.81 Goals Against Average.
Garret Sparks set a Toronto Marlies franchise record with his 30th win of the season for most wins by a goaltender in one season. Drew McIntyre won 29 games in the 2013-14 season.
Toronto did not take a penalty for the first time this season and Toronto went 0-for-3 on the power play. This is the first time in five games Toronto has not scored on power play after seven goals during this stretch.
Toronto had 42-25 edge in shots in all situations.
Trevor Moore and Ben Smith led the Marlies with five shots on goal.
The Marlies are 36-12-1-0 against North Division opponents this season and 5-2-0-0 against the Utica Comets. The Marlies have outscored the Comets 22-19.
Goals: B. Smith (27) Assists: C. Mueller (31) Points: B. Smith (57) PPG: C. Mueller (7) Shots: C. Rosen (150) +/-: M. Marincin (+34) PIMS: A. Nielsen (132)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On today’s game:
I actually liked our start all together, despite the two goals. I liked a lot of things we did in the first period. We had a couple of breakdowns, we were a little soft defensively and they capitalized on their chances. But we had some chances of our own and they just didn’t fall for us. There was a lot to like in the first period so we just encouraged our guys to stay with it. We felt that we were going to get enough chances to get to three (goals) at least. So, we just had to make sure we kept them at two and not give up a whole lot more. We were able to do that so that’s a positive. I like the fact that against a good, hard working, competitive team, we found our way back into the game against a team that’s hard to come back against.
On playing against playoff-bound teams:
It’s different hockey when you’re a playing a team this time of year that still has a lot to play for. The teams we are going to play in the playoffs, whoever it’s going to be, they are going to look a lot different than they do right now, in terms of their roster and lineup and guys that will be joining their team. But these teams that play in the playoffs, they are organized, they are structured, they are competitive and they play really hard this time of year. It’s nice for us to do that, looking back at Manitoba last weekend and here again today.
April 6 at Utica – 7:00 p.m. ET
April 7 at Rochester – 7:05 p.m. ET
April 13 at Laval – 7:30 p.m. ET
April 14 vs Laval – 4:00 p.m. ET
April 15 vs Belleville – 4:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies will host their final school day game of the season on Thursday when the Utica Comets come to town for the first half of a home-and-home.
Both teams have been firing on all cylinders of late as each enter today’s game on four-game winning streaks.
It’s also a potential first round matchup as the Marlies (50-18-1-1) currently hold the top spot in the North Division while the Comets (36-24-6-4) are in fourth place.
In six meetings so far this season, the Marlies have won four games in the regular season series. The Comets won 3-1 in the most previous meeting between the two teams on March 18.
Ben Smith has been active in finding the scoresheet against Utica, racking up four goals and four assists in the season series. He also leads the Marlies in overall scoring this season with 27 goals and 57 points. Smith also has 19 points (7G, 12A) in his last seventeen games.
Justin Holl, Dmytro Timashov and Miro Aaltonen all have five points in the games against Utica so far this year.
Jeremy Bracco has been on a hot streak of late, recording eight points in just his last six games.
For the Comets, Carter Bancks holds the scoring lead during the season series with one goal and five points in the six games so far.
It’s an early start for today’s game as the puck will drop at 11 a.m. on Leafs Nation Network, NHL Network and AHL Live.