TORONTO– In, perhaps, their most important weekend of the entire season, the Toronto Marlies came up huge and earned three victories in three days against North Division rivals.
Mike Zigomanis scored the winning goal with just six seconds remaining in overtime as Toronto edged the host Rochester Americans 5-4 on Friday.
Nazem Kadri scored twice for the Marlies, Greg Scott had a goal and an assist while Will Acton picked up a single goal.
Juraj Mikus picked up two assists as Korbinian Holzer, Marcel Mueller, Ryan Hamilton, Nicolas Deschamps and Simon Gysbers each had one. Zigomanis also had a single assist for a two-point night.
Paul Szczechura scored twice for the Americans, Derek Whitmore had a goal and two assists while Evan Rankin picked up a single goal.
Ben Scrivens made 33 saves for his 21st victory of the season as David Leggio turned away 27 shots in a losing effort.
Both clubs scored once with the power play as Toronto went 1 for 3 and Rochester 1 for 4.
The Marlies faced Rochester, again, on Saturday but with Ben Scrivens re-called by the Toronto Maple Leafs overnight, Mark Owuya was brought up from the ECHL Reading Royals to get the start.
Owuya didn’t disappoint as he stopped all 27 shots he faced as Toronto blanked Rochester 1-0.
Nazem Kadri’s first period goal proved to be the winner.
Mark Fraser and Holzer each picked up an assist.
Leggio turned away 28 shots as he lost to Toronto for the sixth time this season.
Toronto went 0 for 5 on the power play while Rochester only mustered up two extra-man opportunities and failed to score on either.
Philippe Dupuis scored twice as the Marlies overcame an early 2-0 deficit to beat the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Kadri picked up his fourth goal of the weekend, with less than a minute to play in the third period, to break a 2-2 tie and Greg Scott scored his 20th goal of the season into an empty net for the Marlies.
Mueller picked up two assists while Josh Engel, Deschamps and Fraser had one apiece.
Francis Pare and Brent Raedeke each scored for the Griffins, who held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes of play before giving up three third-period goals.
Owuya wasn’t very busy and only had to make 15 saves for his 11th win of the season while Tom McCollum stopped 29 of 32 shots in defeat.
Toronto went 0 for 7 on the power play as Grand Rapids scored once on five chances with the man advantage.
The Marlies have not clinched a playoff berth just yet but the three victories do give them an 11-point lead over the Lake Erie Monsters atop the North Division. While the Monsters cannot actually catch Toronto for first place, the Americans, who are 13 points behind, have two extra games in hand compare to the Marlies and could mathematically catch up. It’s unlikely to happen though as the Marlies would have to lose their final five games, all in regulation, and Rochester would have to 7-0-0. Essentially, Toronto only needs one point to clinch.
Toronto’s next game is this Wednesday when they head to Grand Rapids to face the Griffins in rematch.
- Nazem Kadri scored four goals in three games this weekend. He previously had just four goals in his last 16 contests
- With all the shuffling amongst Toronto goaltenders, Chris Noonan, from Niagara University, is currently backing up Mark Owuya. In 26 games this season, the Michigan native went 14-6-5 with a 1.61 GAA and .944 SV%
- The Joe Colborne goal-drought watch is on. He’s now gone 19 games without a goal and only has two assists over that span of time
- Mike Zigomanis’ overtime goal against the Americans was his sixth game-winning goal of the season, which is good for fifth in the AHL
- Greg Scott’s 20th goal of the season gives the Marlies two 20-goal scorers. Ryan Hamilton leads the team with 23 while Zigomanis has 19 and could finish with 20. Kadri has 17 and if he keeps up his play he could hit 20 as well.
- Ben Scrivens now has a 2.07 goals-against average, which is best in the AHL, and his .925 save percentage is third
- The Marlies are 8-2-0 in their last 10
- All 10 meetings with the Americans this season were decided by one goal. Toronto went 7-2-1 in those 10 games.