Weekly Wrap-Up: December 11, 2017
The Toronto Marlies became the first team in the American Hockey League (AHL) to reach twenty wins this season after earning back-to-back victories in Laval this weekend.
Staring down two straight games against the Rocket, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, the Marlies were looking for four important points against a tough divisional opponent.
In Friday night’s game, Kasperi Kapanen opened the scoring with under five minutes remaining in the first period, scoring on a one-timer after a cross-ice pass from Kerby Rychel. Niki Petti responded for the Rocket thirty seconds later and the two teams remained deadlock until the middle of the third period.
With 12:05 remaining and the Marlies on a power play, Chris Mueller took a pass at the blueline and skated in to the top of the circle, setting loose a slapshot to put the Marlies ahead 2-1. Travis Dermott would add a late empty net goal as the Marlies won 3-1.
Both Kapanen and Mueller finished Saturday’s game with multiple points, while Rychel and Miro Aaltonen earned assists.
Calvin Pickard had the victory for the Marlies, stopping all 18 shots he faced after entering the game late in the first period.
The two teams had little time before they met again for a matinee rematch on Saturday less than 24 hours following the first game.
Following a scoreless first period, the floodgates opened up in the second for the Marlies as they scored four times. Andreas Johnsson scored first just 1:17 into the second period, using his strength to fight off a Laval defender along the goal line before going upstairs. The Rocket responded midway through the second before Jeremy Bracco made a beautiful move to his backhand to reinstate the lead and score his first of the season.
Laval responded again, but 35 seconds later Frederik Gauthier scored on the power play to make it 3-2 Marlies. Kapanen scored late in the second and Ben Smith added an empty net goal as the Marlies skated to a 5-2 victory for their third straight win.
Rychel and Dermott each had two assists in Saturday’s win while Mueller, Dmytro Timashov, Colin Greening and Timothy Liljegren all had a helper, as well.
Pickard earned his second straight victory, making 17 saves.
Over the weekend, Dermott extended his point streak to five games, scoring two goals and four assists over that span.
The Marlies now improve to 20-5-0-0 on the season and 12-2-0-0 playing away from home. Additionally, the Marlies are now 14-2-0-0 against North Division opponents.