It was a successful return to the ice for the Toronto Marlies on the opening weekend of the 2017-18 season, as they picked up a pair of wins over the Utica Comets at Ricoh Coliseum.
On Saturday, the Marlies skated to a 3-1 victory in a close-fought game while Sunday’s game saw the Marlies prevail 4-3 over their North Division rivals.
Kerby Rychel led the charge offensively, scoring a pair of power play goals over the weekend including Saturday’s game winner. He finished the 2016-17 campaign as the Marlies top point-getter (19G, 33A) and looks poised to carry that momentum forward into the new season.
Andreas Johnsson and Ben Smith each also had successful weekends on the scoresheet, as both earned a goal and two assists against the Comets.
Timothy Liljegren scored his first career AHL goal in Sunday’s game, while Rich Clune and Nikita Soshnikov also found the back of the net for the Marlies over the weekend set.
Garret Sparks manned the crease for the Marlies in both games, stopping 49 of 53 shots faced and earning his first two wins of the season.
The Marlies outshot the Comets in both games, combining for 61 shots in the two contests.
On special teams, the Marlies went 3-for-14 on the power play (21.4%) and 5-for-8 on the penalty kill.
The Marlies return to action on Friday for the first game of a busy three-in-three on the road. They will play the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday, the Providence Bruins on Saturday and finish with the Springfield Thunderbirds on Sunday.