TORONTO– With their first demanding weekend of the season, the Toronto Marlies won two of three games, including their home opener on Saturday against the Lake Erie Monsters.
The Marlies kicked off a three games in three days schedule Friday night with a 3-2 loss to in Grand Rapids against the Griffins.
Matt Lashoff opened the scoring for the Marlies midway through the first period but three straight Griffins goals from Willie Coetzee, Gustav Nyquist and Doug Janik forced Toronto to play catch up much of the game. Joe Colborne scored his second goal of the season late in the third period but it wasn’t enough to escape their first loss of the year.
Former Marlies goaler Joey McDonald made 27 saves for the victory while Ben Scrivens turned aside 24 shots in the loss.
The victory felt worse for some more than others as Keith Aulie and Jeff Finger were on the ice for all three goals against.
Saturday the Marlies hosted the Monsters in their home opener at the Ricoh Coliseum and came away with a 5-3 victory.
The first period of the game was busy for both teams as Colborne and Simon Gysbers each scored for Toronto while Luke Walker and David van der Gulik tallied for Lake Erie.
Toronto opened up a two goal lead in the second when Mike Zigomanis and Luca Caputi each scored their first of the year.
It stayed that way until late in the third when Marcel Mueller added an empty netter.
Justin Mercier added one on for the Monsters with less than a minute to play but it didn’t matter as Scrivens turned aside 26 shots for the win.
Trevor Cann made 17 saves for the loss.
Not known to be a fighter, Darryl Boyce dropped the gloves on two separate occasions; once in the first and later in the second.
Sunday Toronto hosted Lake Erie in a rematch but it was never much of a contest as the Marlies took it 4-0.
In his first start of the season, Jussi Rynnas was solid when called upon making 21 saves to earn the shutout.
In his first pro game of his career, James Reid had a tough start for the Monsters making 23 saves for the loss.
Joey Crabb and Finger scored 46 seconds apart and Jerry D’Amigo added his first of the season to take a three goal lead into the first intermission.
Crabb would add another late in the second period to round out the scoring.
The two wins against Lake Erie are big, even at this time of year, because the Monsters are a division rival that Toronto went 1-6-1-1 against last season.
“We play these guys (Monsters) a lot and these points are huge,” said Captain Ryan Hamilton about the wins. “We want to get all the points we can get. It’s a long season but all points matter.”
“We didn’t have many players and that’s a hard thing to do when you play three games in two and a half days but we have a very fit group and a focused group,” said head coach Dallas Eakins after Sunday’s victory.
The Marlies seemed to have very little difficulty getting production from their top two lines over the weekend, especially from Crabb and Colborne. They currently lead the team in scoring with seven points each in four games.
“We’ve been playing well and moving our feet so things have been clicking pretty well,” said Crabb when asked what is working for him and Colborne.
“Good start; three and one. We really didn’t have our A game in Grand Rapids but it was a pretty solid weekend,” said Hamilton when reviewing the three games in three days.
Next up for Toronto will be the Rochester Americans, who come to the Ricoh next Saturday for 3pm tilt.
- Attendance for home opener was 6084
- Dale Mitchell is recovering from surgery on a torn ACL and is still a couple weeks away from skating.
- Josh Engel is the only roster player that has yet to see any game action
- Caputi’s goal on Saturday was his first in 364 days
- Rynnas has put up back to back shutouts if you count his 6-0 victory against the Abbotsford Heat to finish last season.
- Colborne leads the Marlies with a plus 5 while Aulie is a team worst minus 4
- Marlies didn’t win their third game last year until November 3rd
- Marlies have yet to give up a second period goal, outscoring their opponents 6-0
- Marlies are perfect on the penalty kill going 16 for 16 through four games
- Marlies recalled Kyle Neuber from the Reading Royals of the ECHL. Adds toughness and keeps Boyce from having to fight twice in one game