The Toronto Marlies’ winning streak ended at seven, falling one shy of a standalone franchise record, but they bounced back to win two of three this week.

The Marlies continue to lead the AHL standings with a 18-5-0 record (0.783 points percentage) but now have competition from the Manitoba Moose, who have won nine straight games. The Marlies’ impressive +31 goal differential has been surpassed by their Canadian rivals, who are now at +38 and have as many points as Toronto (32) in one more game played.

The victory in Bellville was Toronto’s 10th on the road this year, while the overtime success against Hartford means the Marlies are unbeaten in two games decided after regulation this season. That comeback win over Hartford also improved Toronto’s record to 2-4-0 when trailing after two periods of play.

The penalty kill touched 90% over the weekend but ended at 89.3% after giving up a pair of goals on Sunday. It still leads the league, however.

The power play registered a goal in each game this week but there’s still room for improvement with the extra man. Toronto continue to lead the league in power play opportunities drawn with 130 through 23 games but sits 24th in the league with a 15.4% success rate.

For game-by-game breakdowns, highlights, notes, and quotes from the dressing room:

Players News

Travis Dermott scored his first goal of the year, much to his relief, and added assists against Belleville and Syracuse (three-game points streak, four points in his last five). Offense has been harder to come by with Dermott not being as big of a part of the power play this season, but he’s proving his worth on the PK in a somewhat similar development process to what Morgan Rielly went through on the big club last year. Mike Babcock has described the organization’s preference to limit players mainly to two situations rather than playing a significant role in all three, although there are a few exceptions such as Kasperi Kapanen and Colin Greening on the Marlies, while Leo Komarov and Morgan Rielly play secondary roles on the power play and penalty kill, respectively, with the big club.

Timothy Liljegren was rested for the Friday night game but picked up assists on Wednesday and Saturday. That leaves him with eight points in 14 games, which is eighth best amongst AHL rookie defensemen in points per game.

Dmytro Timashov found the net three times over the weekend and scored both game winners. His total of eight goals is just one shy of the team lead.

– Just the single point for Andreas Johnsson this week, but he’s now the team’s leading scorer with 18 points. Called for boarding and handed a game misconduct in the victory over Hartford, Johnsson has been assessed a one-game suspension for the hit on Filip Chytil, who was injured on the play. He’ll sit out the game against Laval on Friday.

Trevor Moore hasn’t found offense as easy to come by this season, but he broke out of a slump in style during the win over Hartford. Two goals and an assist ended a barren spell of just one helper in the previous eight games.

– Slowly but surely, Jeremy Bracco has been finding his way at the AHL level and his two assists on Saturday went a long way towards Toronto’s comeback win. It was arguably his best performance so far as a professional, although he’s certainly frustrated about not finding the net as of yet. It appears only a matter of time if he continues to make the steady strides he’s making in his adjustment to the pro game.

– A pair of assists for Chris Mueller moves him into third in team scoring. He leads the Marlies in assists (12) and power play points (9).

Colin Greening and Miro Aaltonen both recorded two assists this week, while Frederik Gauthier found the net for the first time this season, albeit in a losing cause.

Garret Sparks had his four-game win streak snapped in the loss to Syracuse but his 30-save performance couldn’t be faulted. The Marlies were also second best for the majority of the encounter with Hartford and were indebted to Sparks for his 34 saves, which included a vital stop in overtime just prior to Timashov’s winner.

Sparks’ record is now 11-3-0 with a save percentage of .944, which is second in the NHL behind Michael Hutchison. Sparks is tied for the league lead in wins.

Calvin Pickard picked up his fifth straight victory and has only given up a single goal in each of those wins. His save percentage improves to .933.

Mason Marchment sustained an injury in the opening period against Hartford and did not return. Sheldon Keefe indicated that the forward “will miss some time,” with Todd Crocker reporting that it could be a mid-to-late January timeline for a return.

Orlando Solar Bears News

Orlando have embarked on a ten game road-trip and fared reasonably well after opening the stretch with a 6-4 reverse in Jacksonville. Back-to-back victories in Greenville (2-1) and South Carolina (4-2) put the Solar Bears within one win of .500. Despite firing 51 shots against Atlanta on Sunday, Orlando fell to a 4-1 defeat and currently sit fifth in the South Division with a 8-10-3 record.

Martins Dzierkals continues to rack up the points, adding two goals and a pair of assists in four games, including a highlight reel end-to-end goal. The rookie forward scored the game winner against South Carolina and has nine points through 11 games.

– Four assists in two games this week for Jean Dupuy, who had a five-game point streak come to an end on Sunday.

Max Novak also registered at a point per game with a goal and three helpers, of which two were power play assists. He’s third in Solar Bears scoring with 18 points from 21 games.

Joshua Winquist netted once but picked up an injury and is currently on the injury reserve list.

– Two points in four games for Kristian Pospisil included an assist on the late game winner against Greenville and the tying goal in the victory over South Carolina.

– Off-season signings Sean Zimmerman and Darryl Bootland (both acquired from Colorado Eagles) finally made their belated Solar Bears debut. Defenseman Zimmerman has been named captain, while right winger Bootland wears an ’A’.

– It was a mixed couple of games this week for goaltender Cal Heeter, who found himself pulled after allowing three goals in the opening 20 minutes against Jacksonville. He rebounded by posting 25 saves in victory over South Carolina.

Toronto Marlies Player Stats – December 5

Johnsson, Andreas219918727404420.86
Smith, Ben239817114003030.74
Mueller, Chris2341216-312303400.7
Timashov, Dmytro238715415304430.65
Marchment, Mason185712719003820.67
Aaltonen, Miro22391256105110.55
Greening, Colin235611919002920.48
Rychel, Kerby235510-223305120.43
Holl, Justin203710108014400.5
Kapanen, Kasperi1463918202710.64
Liljegren, Timothy1417856103000.57
Dermott, Travis211781030003800.38
Rosen, Calle16088-26004700.5
Nielsen, Andrew20088654002200.4
Moore, Trevor20527-16103210.35
Marincin, Martin15257126102300.47
LoVerde, Vincent1913444011900.21
Bracco, Jeremy1104408001400.36
Gauthier, Frederik1412352101100.21
Brooks, Adam1702210001000.12
Clune, Richard1010101900600.1
Valiev, Rinat11011-21000900.09
Paliotta, Michael2000-1000100
Soshnikov, Nikita145712810014100.86

Toronto Marlies Goalie Stats – December 5

Sparks, Garret141.640.944113002
Pickard, Calvin81.90.93362000
Kaskisuo, Kasimir110.96310000