The Toronto Marlies, coming off a three-game losing streak from the previous weekend, took all six possible points this weekend in a pair of games against Rochester and one game against Lake Erie.
After dropping a Thanksgiving day match to Binghamton 3-2, the Marlies had lost consecutive games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2-1) and Hershey (4-2) the weekend after the American holiday. They returned to action this past Friday, beginning a three-in-three stretch.
Matt Frattin (2-2), Nazem Kadri (3g) and Ryan Hamilton (2g) led the Marlies to three consecutive victories, beginning with a 4-1 win over the Americans on Friday in Rochester.
Carter Ashton opened the scoring, with Frattin adding his first goal of the night just 15 seconds later. He’d score again less than four minutes into the second period to give the Marlies a 3-0 lead.
Americans forward Maxime Legault tallied a goal just under four minutes into the third period, but it wasn’t enough to initiate a comeback, and Jerry D’Amigo added an empty netter with less than a minute to play to seal the victory for Toronto, who also edged out Rochester in shots, 31-29.
Both teams returned to action the following night, this time meeting at Ricoh Coliseum for another evening matchup. It was a much more evenly-played game, with back-and-forth scoring.
Rochester blueliner Brayden McNabb opened the scoring this time, before Nazem Kadri scored his first of two goals to tie it up. Alex Biega – another defenseman – also scored for Rochester before Paul Ranger once again evened the game.
Kadri added his second goal of the game at 1:06 of the overtime period to seal yet another win for the Marlies, their second in a row against the Americans team.
Ben Scrivens played both games against Rochester, stopping 28 and 36 shots, respectively, with David Leggio tending net for the Americans. Leggio had 27 and 32 saves in the losses.
Toronto capped off the weekend with another home game, this time against the Lake Erie Monsters.
The Marlies came out with two goals in the first period – including a power play goal by Jake Gardiner and an even-strength tally by Kadri – before giving up a shorthanded goal to Lake Erie’s David van der Gulik.
Toronto exploded for another three goals in the second period, with tallies coming from Gardiner and Ryan Hamilton (2). Lake Erie scored once in the middle frame and added two in the third period, but were ultimately unable to tie it up and the Marlies held on for the win.
Mark Owuya stopped 25 shots in the victory, which saw the teams rack up a combined 44 penalty minutes and each score once on the power play.
Overall, the Marlies were outshot by their opponents, 96-94, but took all six possible points this weekend and are now three points shy of Abbotsford for first place in the division. With 25 points, the Marlies are tied with Rockford, Oklahoma City and Houston in the Western Conference.
Two of the Marlies’ last three wins came against the Rochester team that they’ll face twice more in the next three games. The Americans visit Toronto on Saturday before the Abbotsford Heat come to town on Sunday. Toronto visits Rochester once more on December 15 before meeting Grand Rapids the following afternoon.