Marlies Outshoot Senators; Fall 2-1 in Regulation

Belleville (2) Toronto (1) Final

By: Gordon Brown

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Following a short holiday break, the Toronto Marlies returned to action and kicked off a back-to-back situation on Boxing Day. Toronto welcomed Belleville into town for a date at their temporary home — the Air Canada Centre.

With the Maple Leafs on a road-trip until the new year, an opportunity arose for the Marlies to set up camp in the big club’s building for a taste of what an NHL-calibre rink has to offer.

Tuesday marked the debut of the Marlies newest mascot, Pup, who’s the latest edition alongside Duke the Dog and Maple Leafs’ Carleton the Bear.

Kasperi Kapanen was re-assigned to the Marlies prior to game-time and would make his highly-anticipated return to the lineup accordingly. The 21-year-old Finnish standout recorded 2 goals in 6 games during his most recent stint with the Leafs. His waiver-exempt status is a significant reason as to why he’s been sent down once again.

There’s simply too much organizational depth on the wing.

In other player news, 18-year-old Swedish defenceman Timothy Liljegren remains away from the club as he goes for gold in the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championships in Buffalo, NY.

Andrew Hammond would get the nod in goal for Belleville, while Calvin Pickard manned the crease for Toronto.

As action got underway, Toronto found themselves with a power-play early on and managed to take full advantage of the opportunity. Kasperi Kapanen maintained the puck along the side-boards of the offensive zone before feeding Andrew Nielsen for a one-timer

1st goal of the season

A timely save from Calvin Pickard against former 2016 11th overall pick, Logan Brown, would help to preserve his team’s 1-0 advantage as play continued.

It wasn’t long before a reversal of fortunes saw the Senators find an equalizer on a man-advantage of their own, courtesy of a hooking penalty taken by Rinat Valiev just six minutes later.

The Sens wreaked havoc in the offensive zone and cycled the puck up to Colin White at the blue line, who maintained possession and fired a shot on goal. Belleville’s own Ethan Werek provided a screen in front of Pickard’s crease, effectively distorting the vision of Toronto’s net-minder in the process. Werek’s tactic would pay off, as he was credited with a goal for his effort to redirect the puck into the net.

A sluggish second period came as a result of disorderly breakouts paired with the long, opposite-end change. Either team combined for a mere 12 shots in the frame, Toronto led the way with 8 compared to Belleville’s 4.

Despite being heavily-outshot by a total of 27-12, the Senators made their 12th attempt count.

Francis Perron ended the goalless drought inside of Air Canada Centre with a quick strike to catch Pickard off his guard. A spectacular play was made by Tyler Randell to suck defenders down low, before throwing a behind-the-back pass from below the goal-line to assist on Perron’s 4th tally of the season.

The Marlies continued to press but eventually had to signal for Calvin Pickard to the bench for an extra attacker with under two minutes remaining, but would ultimately come up short on several prime scoring opportunities — the final score would stand 2-1.

Tomorrow’s matchup will see the Marlies travel to Syracuse for a 7:00 p.m. EST puck drop against their North Division rivals, the Crunch.

Feel free to drop me a comment or suggestion:

E-mail - gordon@BarnBurner.ca

On Twitter - @GordBrown_

Photo Credit: @TorontoMarlies