The Toronto Marlies road-trip kicked into top gear with three games in five days against Atlantic Division opponents this past week.
Four of a possible six points were collected, although there will be some lingering disappointment over how the three-game winning streak came to a halt on Wednesday. Toronto’s 9-4-0 record keeps them atop the North Division, two points clear of Laval Rocket.
Through 13 games, the Marlies have not yet played a game undecided through regulation play. That’s somewhat of a strange franchise record — only the 2010-11 season comes close, when the 10th game of the year was the first to require overtime.
The penalty kill has certainly stepped up during this road-trip; at the time of writing, it is ranked third overall at 88.1%. In the past week, all 13 penalties were killed successfully, including some 5-on-3 play. The run stretches back to six games without allowing a power-play goal against.
The power play remains a problem, however, as the Marlies mustered just two goals on 16 opportunities and are registering at 13.6% overall.
– Mason Marchment was selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Nov. 5, 2017. He now sits third in rookie scoring with five goals and six assists through 10 games, although his point streak ended at four games against WBS Pens.
– Ben Smith continues to lead the Marlies in scoring with 12 points, having tallied one more goal than his linemate Marchment. All of Smith’s point have been accrued at even strength, and 11 are primary markers.
– Dmytro Timashov accrued four points this week (2-2-4), including his third power play goal of the season and his first at even strength. After a pointless first five games, Timashov has nine points in his last eight outings.
– Nikita Soshnikov potted a pair of goals to become the third Marlies player to reach double figures in points. He remains one of Toronto’s most consistent performers despite the uncertainty about his immediate future (he’s got an out clause in his contract and could leave to the KHL if he isn’t on the NHL roster by the middle of the month).
– Chris Mueller recorded a goal and an assist. He and Andreas Johnsson lead the team with five power play points apiece.
– A pair of goals for Trevor Moore takes his seasonal tally to three (no assists on the season).
– No goals for any Marlies defensemen this week, but there were plenty of assists as Calle Rosen, Martin Marincin and Travis Dermott all recorded a pair each.
– Calvin Pickard put in his best performance so far with a 35-save effort against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He’s now 2-2 on the season with a save percentage of .915.
– Garret Sparks was excellent in both starts this week. Despite taking the loss in Wilkes-Barre Scranton, Sparks continues to lead the AHL with a .940 save percentage.
– Timothy Liljegren was injured in the victory over Hershey after falling awkwardly into the boards. He hasn’t played since, but the injury isn’t thought to be serious and he could return this weekend against Binghamton.
– Rinat Valiev has also been out due to injury and should be back in the line-up sooner than later.
– Eric Fehr has been loaned to San Diego, where the current Head Coach is former Marlie Dallas Eakins.
– Kasimir Kaskisuo lost his start for the Wolves this week, but he wasn’t given much help by his Chicago teammates. After allowing three goals in the opening period, Kaskisuo shut the door the rest of the way, making 34 saves in a 3-0 reverse to Milwaukee Admirals.
– Frederik Gauthier was recalled by the Maple Leafs while Kasperi Kapanen has rejoined the Marlies.
Orlando Solar Bears News
It was a frustrating week for the Solar Bears, who took just one point of a possible six. Defeats to Florida and Greenville were followed by an overtime reverse to the latter in their second meeting of the week. In their most recent loss, Orland conceded four straight goals after holding a 3-0 lead early in the second period.
Orlando’s record of 2-5-2 leaves them sixth in the South Division.
Max Novak recorded three points (2-1-3), Jean Dupuy and J.J Piccinich netted a goal apiece, and Joshua Winquist registered two assists this week. Cal Heeter allowed four goals in both starts, but may well be heavily leaned on if Mackenzie Skapski doesn’t improve after a debut in which he allowed five goals on 17 shots.