Weekly Wrap-Up: February 20, 2018
The Toronto Marlies remain in the top spot of the American Hockey League after winning one of three games over a busy Family Day Weekend.
Starting out on the road for another Battle of Ontario matchup in Belleville, the Marlies were unable to recover from an early deficit. The Senators took a 2-0 lead into the final period before Rinat Valiev connected on a one-timer after a great cross-ice pass from Andreas Johnsson to cut into the lead.
Valiev’s goal wasn’t enough, however, as the Senators added an empty net goal to seal a 3-1 victory and end the Marlies seven-game winning streak and 16-game points streak.
Overnight, the Marlies headed to Laval for another rivalry matchup with the Rocket. Laval opened the scoring in a first period where the Marlies were heavily outshot, but Calvin Pickard made 15 saves in the opening frame to keep it a one-goal game. Miro Aaltonen tied the game less than five minutes into the second, redirecting a hard pass from Johnsson on the power play.
Laval added another late in the second but the Marlies charged back in the third, scoring three straight in the final eight minutes. Kerby Rychel deflected a bouncing puck at the top of the crease, Aaltonen went upstairs on a shot from the slot and Johnsson added an empty-net goal to close out the 4-2 win.
The Marlies returned to Toronto on Monday for a special Family Day matchup at Air Canada Centre against the Hershey Bears. Aaltonen opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the weekend, collecting a loose puck in the slot and firing a slapshot less than seven minutes into the game.
Hershey responded with three straight goals in the second, but Valiev helped close the gap for the Marlies early in the third to make it a 3-2 game. The Marlies maintained pressure in the Bears’ end, but Hershey were able to score a pair of empty net goals and close out a 5-2 win.
Following the weekend, the Marlies now hold a 38-13-0-1 record. They return to action on Wednesday morning when they host the Binghamton Devils for the first of three school day games this season.
Aaltonen finished the weekend with three goals and two assists and now has 12 points (6G, 6A) in his last seven games.
Valiev scored twice and added an assist to extend his point streak to six games, giving him four goals and two helpers over that span.