On a busy sports evening in the city of Toronto, apparently there were some other teams playing, Raptors and TFC (sp??), the Toronto Marlies played host to the Providence Bruins at the Ricoh Coliseum.
A game that started fairly slow, with the Marlies running into a clogged neutral zone and heavy hitting along the walls, ended in an entertaining fashion for the hometown faithful.
Known sniper, Zac Rinaldo opening the scoring after walking in all alone and undressing starting goaltender, Antoine Bibeau to give the Away Team a 1-0 lead.
Bibeau starting his third straight game, due to Garret Sparks “not feeling 100%” according to Coach Sheldon Keefe, stopped 30 of 33 shots for the victory for the Marlies this evening.
Providence then made it 2-0 before the end of the first period on a goal from Peter Mueller. Yes, that guy.
The Marlies came out much better and ready to perform in the second period of play, outshooting the Bruins 20-15 in that frame. Tobias Lindberg opened the scoring for the Blue And White on a redirection off of a point shot by Captain Andrew Campbell.
Once the Marlies smell blood in the water, you can see them almost switch to another gear. Kasperi Kapanen started to absolutely fly, and after buzzing around the ice, scored on a rebound goal that was assisted by Nikita Soshnikov and Frederik Gauthier. The big center iceman, Gauthier continues to show improved speed and ability with the puck. This kid may yet to turn out to be a serviceable NHL forward.
On a Toronto Marlies powerplay, Brendan Leipsic scored on a wonderful set up by Colin Smith. While standing in a crowded slot, Smith could have pounded the puck into those bodies, but instead had the patience and vision to find the open Leipsic who made no mistake with his 3rd of the season.
Early in the third period Jordan Szwarz scored on a pinball wizard kinda goal. A bouncing puck that could not be corralled by Justin Holl, was chipped up over Antoine Bibeau to tie the game at three goals a piece.
After a late penalty to Providence, and failing to convert, the stage was set for an overtime winner. This time the hero of the game was Andrew Nielsen. After working the puck around the zone, Kasperi Kapanen found Nielsen in the high slot and he shot a deflected puck passed rookie goalie, Dan Vladar for the game winning goal. The goal by Nielsen is his 6th point in the 6 games that he has played for Toronto this season.
Brendan Leipsic led the way for the Marlies with three points on the evening, with Kapanen close behind with two. Not figuring into the scoring, but having a strong game was Travis Dermott. Number 8 for the Marlies skated very well, threw a thunderous open ice hit, and passed the puck with accuracy and purpose. Keep an eye on Dermott and Nielsen, these are the defensemen of the Leafs Future.
Marlies travel off to Albany, after a practice at the MCC tomorrow, which starts the longest road trip ever. The Ricoh is home to the Royal Winter Fair, and ensures that the Marlies get some bonding time away from home digs for the better part of November.
The Toronto Team is now 5-1 on the season, and continue to provide offense from bunch of different sources. In my opinion, this team might be deeper than the one from the 2015-16 season, and we all know that was a talented group.
Coco Live from the Ricoh. Peace out.
Three Stars: 1) Brendan Leipsic (Tor)
2) Kasperi Kapanen (Tor)
3) Jordan Szwarz (Pro)