The Toronto Marlies topped the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-4 on Monday evening. The Marlies have now won three in a row.
The Marlies got off to a quick start in this one, scoring early and often. It took Antti Suomela just 1:40 to get the Marlies on the board in the opening frame. Alex Steeves follow suit with his ninth of the year, before Bobby McMann made it 3-0 for the home side on the power-play. The Marlies lead by three just over five minutes into the game.
Springfield got one back just over the 10 minute mark as Will Bitten potted his fifth of the year. But, the Marlies offence wasn’t done yet. Before the frame was over Suomela and Joseph Blandisi each added another goal for the Marlies, giving them a 5-1 lead heading into the first intermission.
The Thunderbirds came close though, as Dakota Joshua, Keean Washkurak, and Hugh McGing all tallied goals for the visitors. In the end they came up just short. Joseph Woll was a rock in the Marlies crease, stopping 37 of the 41 shots he faced in the win.
The Marlies are back in action on Wednesday when they host the Belleville Senators on Wednesday at 3:00pm ET in their final home game before heading out on the road for the remainder of January.
GAME SUMMARY | GAME SHEET | PHOTOS | SCRUMS
Springfield: W. Bitten (5) PP (T. Cross, N. Alexander), D. Joshua (2) (M. MacEachern, A. Toropchenko), K. Washkurak (9) (Unassisted), H. McGing (8) (C. Rosen, S. Anas)
Goaltender: C. Lindgren (1/4), J. Hofer (25/27) L
Toronto: A. Suomela (2) (C. Dahlström, F. Kràl), A. Steeves (9) (M. Abramov, F. Kràl), B. McMann (7) PP (J. Duszak, A. Steeves), A. Suomela (3) (C. Dahlström, F. Kràl), J. Blandisi (2) (F. Kràl, P. Gogolev)
Goaltender: J. Woll (37/41) W
ON THE SCORESHEET
- Antti Suomela scored at 1:40 and 11:55 of the first period. This is his second career multi-goal game.
- Alex Steeves scored at 4:03 of the first period and later added the secondary assist on McMann’s power play goal. He has points (2-1-3) in consecutive games. Steeves has 17 points (9 goals, 8 assists) in 17 games this season.
- Bobby McMann scored on the power play at 5:15 of the first period. This was his third power play goal of the season. He has 10 points (7 goals, 3 assists) in 19 games with the Marlies.
- Joseph Blandisi scored at 19:47 of the first period. He has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last three games.
- Filip Kràl recorded one primary and three secondary assists in the first period. He has 10 assists in his last seven games. He set a Marlies franchise record for most assists by a player in a single period.
- Carl Dahlström registered the primary assists on both of Suomela’s first period goals. This is his third game recording more than one assist this season.
- Mikhail Abramov had the primary assist on Steeves’ first period goal. He has points (2-3-5) in four consecutive games.
- Joseph Duszak picked up the primary assist on McMann’s power play goal.
- Pavel Gogolev collected the secondary assist on Blandisi’s first period goal. He has eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 19 games this season.
- Joseph Woll stopped 37 of 41 shots he faced. He is 5-2-0 this season with a 0.909 save percentage and a 3.31 goals against average.
- Filip Kràl set a Marlies franchise record for most assists by a player (forward or defence) in a single period. He had one primary and three secondary assists in the first period of today’s game.
- Toronto went 1-for-2 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play. Toronto is 9-6-1-0 when scoring on the power play and 6-5-1-1 when allowing a goal on the penalty kill.
- Springfield had a 41-31 edge in shots in all situations. Antti Suomela led the Marlies with five shots on goal. Toronto is 11-7-1-1 when outshot by their opponent.
- The Marlies are 3-2-0-0 against Atlantic Division opponents and 2-0-0-0 against the Springfield Thunderbirds. Toronto does not have a loss against Springfield in franchise history.
Scoring first 10-1-0-1
Leading after 1 7-1-1-1
Leading after 2 11-1-1-1
1 Goal Game 5-2-1-1
*Amongst active players
Goals 10 (J. Ho-Sang)
Assists 19 (J. Duszak)
Points 20 (J. Duszak)
PPG 4 (J. Ho-Sang)
Shots 57 (A. Steeves)
+/- +5 (A. Steeves)
PIMS 50 (R. Clune)
HEAD COACH GREG MOORE
On how the Marlies have been putting together consecutive quick starts:
A lot of discussion. Leadership too has done a great job of talking with the group and just giving insights of how important it is in this league, how hard it is to win games if we don’t give ourselves a chance from the start, it makes it really challenging to come back and find your way back into it. It was a good start, good process. The guys were diligent about the game plan and how to score against these guys and went out and executed.
ALEX STEEVES (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On the first period:
It was definitely something we talked about in the locker room before the game started that we really wanted to start fast and get on them. Obviously, that happened. It was one of those first periods that everything was kind of just going right for us. I think we were earning it. We got some really good plays, I think my line got pretty hot there and it’s good that our power play stepped up and got us a goal which is always really important to win the special teams battle, so it was just a really good first period.
On playing with the lead:
It’s always important to reflect on how games transpire. Personally, at this point of the year I think we got to get over that hump. We’ve had some stretches, we’ve had leads this year so I think we’re kind of over the fact where we have to understand how to finish the game, we just got to do it. It was a good game for us to get the win, unbelievable first period, probably our best first period of the year in terms of production but at the same time, I think at some point we just got to step and be a little more assertive to finish games.
JOSEPH WOLL (37 SAVES)
On playing with the lead:
Honestly, I try to treat it exactly the same as if we were tied or down. I think that’s the best mindset I could have is to always try to play the same way regardless of the situation but seeing us come out like that and play like that in the first is pretty cool to watch. We have been talking a lot about our starts and you couldn’t really have a better start then that so it’s pretty nice.
*All times Eastern Standard Time
January 12 vs. Belleville – 7:00 p.m.
January 15 at Hershey – 7:00 p.m.
January 16 at Lehigh Valley – 3:05 p.m.
January 19 at Hartford – 7:00 p.m.
January 21 at WB/Scranton – 7:05 p.m.
The Toronto Marlies face another tough test on Monday afternoon as they host the Springfield Thunderbirds in the second matchup between the two teams this season. The Marlies took the first meeting between the two 4-2 back in December.
Springfield currently sits second in the Eastern Conference Standings, while Toronto is seventh. The Marlies are currently on a two game winning streak, after defeating Belleville and Utica last week. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds are coming off of a 7-5 loss to the Senators on Saturday.
Players to watch on the Marlies side include defenceman Mac Hollowell who has points (1-5-6) in his five consecutive games, as well as rookie Alex Steeves who tallied the Marlies first goal against Utica last week. He has 15 points in 16 games this season. On the visitors side, Matthew Peca leads the way with 26 points.
Puck drops at 3:00 PM EST on Leafs Nation Network, and AHLTV. Fans can also follow along on Twitter (@TorontoMarlies) for game updates.