It may be early in the season, but there’s never a particularly bad time to start establishing a foothold within your division. The Toronto Marlies appear to be well aware of that, pushing aside the rival Belleville Senators for the second consecutive night, this time by a much wider margin than they did at the Air Canada Centre.
|A. Johnsson||M. Aaltonen||K. Kapanen||T. Dermott||T. Liljegren|
|D. Timashov||M. Mueller||T. Moore||C. Rosen||V. LoVerde|
|K. Rychel||F. Gauthier||C. Greening||A. Nielsen||J. Holl|
|M. Marchment||B. Smith||J. Bracco||C. Pickard|
Toronto’s good fortunes began in a first period that was decently contested until it came time for the puck to be moved around in close. Nine and a half minutes into the game, what looked like a Colin Greening wraparound attempt gone wrong turned into a puck up for grabs in open space, which Kerby Rychel had no qualms claiming as his own. A similar situation arose not long afterwards when Miro Aaltonen’s drive to the net gave Andreas Johnsson an opportunity to pick up his second goal of the weekend; Chris Driedger’s pad save landed right in the Swedish winger’s sweet spot.
This gave the Marlies some wiggle room to get a bit more creativity, and it was used well. Before the end of the period, Justin Holl found Rychel in front, and the power forward found yet another way to get himself on the point sheet, this time leaving a drop pass for Greening to bury against his former team. The second period bore a little more additional fruit once Toronto went on their second powerplay of the game. As Tyler Randall sat in the box, Chris Mueller continued his weeks-long scoring tear by redirecting a Calle Rosen point shot, once again involving Rychel just prior.
This is the closest thing I can get to footage of this sequence because the cameras missed most of the post-hit stuff. pic.twitter.com/IoCC82N2hJ
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 26, 2017
Randall and Rychel’s names would come up again a few minutes later. Kasperi Kapanen attempted to stretch the goal gap even further with an end-to-end rush but was dealt a punishing but perfectly legal check by Andreas Englund. Rychel, as gritty as he is productive, was having none of that and made a bee-line for his opponent, at which point Randall tried to intercept him. It ended up being more of a clothesline, followed by a fight. This led to a pretty interesting call; Rychel was given two and ten-minute penalties for fighting instigation, despite the fact that he ended up fighting someone other than the person he was chasing to fight. Not to deny his intent, but given the result, the decision seemed weird.
In any event, that didn’t stop the Marlies from doing their thing for the rest of the game. While Gabriel Gagne spoiled Calvin Pickard’s shutout bid, Kasperi Kapanen added an empty-netter late in a third period where Toronto spent plenty of time with the puck on their sticks.
With the win, the Marlies move to 16-4-0-0 on the season, giving them a 0.800 points percentage and +30 goal differential; both numbers topping the league. Their next game comes on Wednesday night against the Syracuse Crunch.
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