Toronto Marlies Take 1-0 Series Lead With Overtime Win Against Utica Comets
The Toronto Marlies defeated the Utica Comets 6-5 in overtime on Thursday to take Game One of Round Two of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. Toronto leads the best of five series 1-0.
“The group’s feeling good, especially with being down the way we were at the start of the game,” said Marlies Head Coach Greg Moore. “Really proud of the response that the guys had and the confidence to find their way back into the game.”
In the opening period, it was the visitors who struck first. Reilly Walsh scored a power play goal at 6:08 to give the Comets an early lead. Graeme Clarke followed up with one of his own at 13:39 to extend Utica’s lead to two heading into the second period.
Early in the second, Utica extended their lead to three with a goal by Xavier Parent at 2:06. Shortly after, Toronto got on the board with a goal by Pontus Holmberg at 5:43 to keep the Marlies within two. Less than two minutes later, Topi Niemelä added another for Toronto at 7:00 to make it 3-1. Later in the frame, Logan Shaw scored on the power-play goal at 13:59 to tie the game at three a piece.
Halfway through the third, Utica responded with a goal by Reilly Walsh at 11:08 to make it 4-3 for the visitors. Less than a minute later, Logan Shaw earned his second of the night at 11:43 to once again tie the game at four. Shortly after, T Shortly after, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev scored to give Toronto their first lead of the game at 12:41, making it 5-4 for the home team. In the final minute of the frame, Alexander Holtz scored to tie the game at five and force overtime.
In the extra frame, both teams exchanged chances, but it was Joseph Blandisi who scored the overtime winner at 18:35 to give the Marlies the win. Logan Shaw was the lone assist on Blandisi’s overtime goal.
“Our captain has done it all season,” said Greg Moore. “To get the two big goals that he had and that effort at that time of the period to work back and strip the puck and be the driver on the goal to be the flash screen was really, really impressive and why he’s our leader.”
Keith Petruzzelli stood tall in the Marlies crease stopping 40 of the 45 shots he faced.
“Games like that your goalie has got to make saves,” said Marlies Forward Nick Abruzzese. “He’s got to be one of your best players and I definitely thought he was.”
The Marlies return to action on April 29th when they host the Utica Comets in Game Two of Round Two of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. Puck drop is at 4:00pm on The Toronto Maple Leafs app and AHLTV.
GAME SUMMARY | GAME SHEET | PHOTOS | SCRUMS
Utica: R. Walsh (3) PP (A. Holtz, G. Clarke), G. Clarke (1) (Unassisted), X. Parent (1) (M. Geertsen, B. Pinho), R. Walsh (4) (M. Geertsen, J. Hawrluk), A. Holtz (1) (G. Clarke, S. Nemec)
Goaltender: N. Daws (43/49) OT/L
Toronto: P. Holmberg (1) (M. Johnstone, K. Clifford), T. Niemelä (1) (N. Abruzzese, J. Blandisi), L. Shaw (1) PP (M. Hollowell, N. Abruzzese), L. Shaw (2) (J. Blandisi, J. Benn), S. Der-Arguchintsev (1) (M. Pietroniro, A. Steeves), J. Blandisi (L. Shaw)
Goaltender: K. Petruzzelli (40/45) W
ON THE SCORESHEET
- Pontus Holmberg put the Marlies on the board at 5:43 of the second period. He had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 38 games with the Marlies.
- Topi Niemelä scored at 7:00 of the second period. He had one goal and one assist through six games with the Marlies this season.
- Logan Shaw scored on the power play at 13:59 of the second period and later at 11:43 of the third period. He later added the lone assist on Blandisi’s overtime goal. His second period goal was his first career AHL playoff goal.
- Semyon Der-Arguchintsev scored at 12:41 of the third period. Der-Arguchintsev had 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) in 50 games this season with the Marlies.
- Joseph Blandisi scored at 18:35 of overtime. He had earlier picked up the secondary assist on Niemelä’s second period goal and the primary assist on Shaw’s third period goal. This was his first overtime goal in the playoffs. Blandisi had 39 points (15 goals, 24 assists) in 61 games this season.
- Marc Johnstone recorded the primary assist on Holmberg’s second period goal. He had 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 69 games this season with the Marlies.
- Kyle Clifford had the secondary assist on Holmberg’s second period goal.
- Nick Abruzzese registered the primary assist on Niemelä’s goal and the secondary assist on Shaw’s power play goal, both in the second period. He had 17 power play assists through 69 games this season.
- Mac Hollowell recorded the primary assist on Shaw’s second period power play goal. This was his first game since January 11 due to injury.
- Jordie Benn collected the secondary assist on Shaw’s third period goal.
- Matteo Pietroniro had the primary assist on Der-Arguchintsev’s third period goal. He had three points (1 goal, 2 assists) through 51 games this season.
- Alex Steeves picked up the secondary assist on Der-Arguchintsev’s third period goal. He had 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 65 games this season.
- Keith Petruzzelli stopped 40 of 45 shots he faced. This was his first start in an AHL playoff game.
- This was Toronto’s 15th overtime win in playoff franchise history.
- Seven Marlies – Abruzzese, Der-Arguchintsev, Holmberg, Johnston, Niemelä, Pietroniro, Steeves – recorded their first career AHL point in the postseason in tonight’s game.
- The Marlies went 2-for-3 on the penalty kill and 1-for-3 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 49-45 edge in shots in all situations. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev and Marc Johnstone led the Marlies with six shots on goal.
|MARLIES PLAYOFF LEADERS *Amongst active players
Goals 2 (L. Shaw)
Assists 2 (N. Abruzzese, J. Blandisi)
Points 3 (J. Blandisi, L. Shaw)
PPG 1 (L. Shaw)
Shots 6 (S. Der-Arguchintsev, M. Johnstone)
+/- +3 (J. Blandisi)
PIMS 4 (J. Blandisi)
HEAD COACH GREG MOORE
On tonight’s game:
The group’s feeling good. Especially with being down the way we were at the start of the game. Really proud of the response that the guys had, the confidence to find their way back into the game. Especially in a playoff series, it’s not a one-off game. We’ve got to keep chipping away. Just the energy today and the team camaraderie was really strong and a lot of great performances by a lot of guys today.
On Logan Shaw’s performance (2 goals, 1 assist):
A star performance. Our captain has done it all season and to get the two big goals that he had and that effort at that time of the period to work back and strip the puck and be the driver on the goal to be the flash screen was really, really impressive and why he’s our leader.
On Keith Petruzzelli:
I thought (his performance) was similar to our team’s. We hadn’t played in a long time so, it took him a little bit to get the rhythm and feel. To go down the way we did at 3-0 and to stay in it, that’s what he’s done all season. He has a great mindset for being a goalie. He’s really consistent and doesn’t let a lot rattle him. He’s the perfect personality to have in net.
*All times Eastern Standard Time
Game 2 – April 29 vs. Utica – 4:00 p.m.
Game 3 – May 3 at Utica – 7:00 p.m.
*Game 4 – May 5 at Utica – 7:00 p.m.
*Game 5 – May 7 vs. TBD – 4:00 p.m.
The Toronto Marlies return to action on Thursday night as they host the Utica Comets in Game One of Round Two of the 2023 Calder Cup Playoffs. Toronto returns to the postseason for the 12th time in franchise history.
The regular season series between Toronto and Utica was closely contested. Toronto won the first four matchups by just a single goal. The Marlies took the regular season series 5-1-0-0. Toronto finished the regular season atop the North Division, while Utica placed in fourth.
“At the end of the day it’s the post season. It’s a new season,” said Marlies Head Coach Greg Moore. “We can’t rely on what happened in the regular season or have the expectations of how things went there. We got to be ready for game one.”
The Marlies had the second-best power play (23.6%) in the AHL during the regular season. Logan Shaw led the team in power play goals with 10. On the other side, the Comets had the best defense in the North Division, allowing 222 goals against.
As a result of finishing first in the North Division, Toronto secured a first-round bye. The Marlies last game was on April 16th against the Belleville Senators.
“Every practice so far, guys have been competing,” Shaw said. “Guys have been working and it’s a playoff like atmosphere right now.”
In the first round, the Comets won their best-of-three series against the Laval Rocket to advance to the second round. Utica held the conference-leading Laval offence to just one goal over two games.
“They’re a very tight group defensively and fast in transition,” Marlies defensemen Carl Dahlström said. “It’s playoff hockey now. Most games are either won in overtime or close games. We know every single play matters and we just gotta nail down.”
Mac Hollowell makes his return to the lineup on Thursday. The defensemen sustained an injury in January and underwent surgery for a fractured kneecap.
“To be here with the team and to be in the dressing room with the team it’s great,” said Hollowell.
Players to look out for on the Marlies side include Logan Shaw who led the team in the regular season with 69 points (21G, 48A), and Alex Steeves who has 51 points (19G, 32A). On the Comets side, Graeme Clarke led the team with 58 points (25G, 33A).
Puck drop is at 7:00pm on the Toronto Maple Leafs app and AHLTV.