After shutting out the Manitoba Moose by a final score of 4-0 on Saturday, the Toronto Marlies returned to action at home on Wednesday hosting Canadian Brett Leason and the Hershey Bears.
For Rasmus Sandin, it was his return to the American Hockey League after being reassigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday. However, his designation meant the Marlies would be sending another player to the NHL, left-handed defensemen Kevin Gravel joining the Leafs as an extra-body.
After Sandin’s reassignment was made official on Monday morning, head coach Mike Babcock met with the media to discuss his progress at Scotiabank Arena where he said about the six NHL games that Sandin appeared in and was given ice time, “The guys that we’ve overcooked seem to get to a higher end than the guys we rush.”
For Toronto, it was goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo starting in net for the second time this season going up against Vitek Vanecek, making his third start of the season. Sandin was put on the first defensive pairing alongside fellow first-round pick Timothy Liljegren.
The first period got off to a hot start with Toronto taking charge early on, keeping the puck in the Hershey Bears zone looking to get on the scoreboard early. After an attempt from Hudson Elyunik wrapping around Vanecek and the Hershey Bears net, Liljegren gained possession, sniping the puck just wide from the blue line.
As the Bears looked to remain busy, they would turn the play around and out of their zone, Philippe Maillet with a shot, however, saved by Kaskisuo who would bring play to a halt.
As the first frame continued on, Jeremy Bracco would turn it around, rushing down to the Hershey Bears zone, sending the puck up to Kenny Agostino would bank the first goal. For Agostino, it was his first of the season on a shot-sided shot at the 13:55 mark.
With Toronto looking to do more, Pontus Aberg would take a shot on Vanecek, however, he would shoot just wide behind him, Vanecek diving out and causing a brief scuffle.
The Bears, now invading Toronto’s zone, would then keep the Marlies on their feet defensively, Joe Snively out front of the net making Kaskisuo work hard, keeping the puck out of the crease. Toronto would then send it out and down the ice, however, Hershey once again would find themselves turning it around before being whistled down with ten minutes to play in the game’s first frame.
At the 9:53 mark, Toronto would claim their first power play of the night, Egor Korshkov making easy work from the left-side dot, doubling the Marlies lead early on. Jeremy Bracco and Rasmus Sandin would both claim assists of their own on the play.
Finding themselves down with 8:05 to play, Brett Leason would take to the ice, the Hershey Bears working hard to make a comeback, but unable to as Toronto would turn it.
Out front of the Hershey Bears net, Pontus Aberg would take a shot at Vanecek, hitting the crossbar along with a scuffle, handing Toronto their first two minute penalty. Pierre Engvall would be sent to the box after being called for goaltender interference.
Back to the ice with just under seven minutes to play, Garrett Wilson would send the puck down, keeping the Hershey Bears defence productive. For the Bears, they needed a goal on their first power play, but failed to convert. They would then kill off the penalty, Engvall back in and working hard along the boards.
Martin Fehervary would then rush up the ice after converting the puck from along the boards, however, the play would once again would be stopped with players switching off with just four minutes left.
From the left-side dot in the Marlies zone, play would resume at the 4:06 mark, Jordan Schmaltz and Tyler Gaudet looking to keep Hershey out of the zone and off the scoreboard.
This would then appear easy as Toronto would turn it around, Matt Read with a shot on Vanecek, but stopped and sent back out the other way. With a two-on-one now in effect, Hershey would find themselves busy, Liam O’Brien with a shot on Kaskisuo, scoring his first of the regular season. Lucas Johansen would claim the assist.
With 1:23 remaining and Toronto up on the Bears by one, Toronto would attempt once more to double their lead on the Hershey Bears, Matt Read out front of Vanecek, but failing to get the puck by for the goal. As the clock continued to die down, this would bring the first period to a close.
As the second frame got underway, the Toronto Marlies would be all over Hershey, Jordan Schmaltz taking a shot on Vitik Vanecek from the boards, but going wide. A moment later, he would find the puck from the Hershey Bears zone, sending it up to Adam Brooks who would net his first goal of the season. This would give the Marlies a 3-1 lead at the 18:40 mark. Agostino would add an assist just 1:20 into the period.
This would do it for Vanecek, putting Pheonix Copley in net to replace him as Vanecek gave up a third goal after facing eleven shots from Toronto. Hershey, looking for revenge, would send the puck down the ice, Kaskisuo with a remarkable save, sprawling outside of the crease for the save.
With 17:20 to go, the puck would become loose in the Marlies zone, Joe Snively with a great chance but going just wide on Kasimir Kaskisuo. Teemu Kivihalme would then. gain possession along the boards, sending it up to the Hershey Bears zone, but not for long as it would knocked loose and back the other way.
Brett Leason would then find the puck loose once again near Kaskisuo, but unable to find an open hole before being turned around and back out by the Marlies. This would bring the play to a halt with 14:02 left in the frame.
Toronto would then be called on the penalty, giving Hershey another chance to score, Alex Alexeyev taking full advantage with a shot from out front of the blue line, but stopped. This wouldn’t be all as Maillet would take his own shot, but Kaskisuo not stepping down before the Marlies wold turn it around.
With the action becoming aggressive back in the Hershey Bears zone, Hudson Elynuik would take a shot on Copley, but stopped and saved with eleven minutes left. After receiving the puck at centre ice, Tanner MacMaster would rush up with the puck, taking it behind the Bears net, looking to find an open hole on the wrap around.
With a breakaway opportunity in check following a scuffle up along the boards, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would receive a pass from and net it by Kaskisuo for his first goal of the season. This would give the Marlies a 3-2 lead with just under ten minutes left. Erik Burgdoerfer would receive an assist on the play.
At the 8:17 mark of the frame and the Bears in the Marlies zone, Kaskisuo would find himself active, making a pair of saves to keep Toronto out front. Liljegren, from the centre ice zone, would then pass the puck up to Pierre Engvall who would have the puck knocked loose in the Hershey Bears zone before turning it around. Kaskisuo once again would make a pair of saves before stopping the puck to bring play to a halt.
With 5:38 remaining, Elynuik would retrieve the puck, taking it behind Copley and the Hershey Bears net, but unable to do anything more. This would then make way for Adam Brooks who would rush up with a chance of his own.
With just under four minutes to go, the Bears would find their way to Kaskisuo, taking the puck from behind Toronto’s net, but intervened with and sent back the other way. This would then find MacMaster with possession who would take the hit from behind the Bears net.
The Bears would be called on the penalty with just under three minutes to play in the frame, Toronto receiving the man advantage, giving the power play unit another chance to double up. With just 1:18 to play and the Marlies not giving up, Tanner MacMaster would find the empty net, getting it by Copley for his first of the season. Pontus Aberg and Timothy Liljegren would be awarded assists on the play.
With 30 seconds remaining, another shot would be taken on Copley, but stopped and saved to bring play to a halt. Leason, out front of the benches, would then go down with just five seconds left, a hooking penalty being called on the Marlies, bringing the game’s second frame to a close.
With twenty minutes left to play as the third period got underway, the Marlies would kick things off with 1:55 to go on the power play, but a difficult situation at hand in their zone with the Hershey Bears. Christian Djoos would send the puck to Mike Sgarbossa who would take a shot on Kaskisuo, but stopped.
This would then lead to another Marlies penalty, the Bears with a five-on-three, a great chance for the team to capitalize. That in mind, the puck would be dropped from Toronto’s left-side dot, the Bears then out front of the net, but playing sloppy with a pair of missed shots.
Kaskisuo would then receive the puck to turn it around and up along the boards, Toronto killing off the penalty successfully and looking to do further damage four minutes in.
Garrett Pilon would then take a shot on Kaskisuo after shoving Schmaltz right into the boards, but unable to find a hole and the Marlies converting on the play. However, the Bears, not backing down, would gain possession and turn it around, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby with his second of the night and his second of the season at the 4:52 mark. Brian Pinho would receive an assist, his second of the regular season. This would give Toronto a 4-3 lead over the Hershey Bears.
With 12:26 to go and Hershey leading in shots by two, the puck would take a weird bounce from the bottom of the boards and hit Pierre Engvall, bringing play to a stop. Hershey then looking to tie things, would take the puck up the ice to Kaskisuo, but unable to get the backstop as Toronto would then convert on the play.
Alex Alexeyev, from the left-side dot, would then take another shot at Kaskisuo, but stopped. This would then bring the Marlies play to the other end, Pierre Engvall with a shot on Copley, but wide of the net and around the boards. Travis Boyd would then gain possession and race up with the puck from the Hershey Bears zone, but unable to find an open gap, the play being stopped with just 8:04 left.
With just under eight minutes to go, the Bears would be called for the penalty, the game resuming with four-on-four action as the Marlies looked to double their lead. This would find Rasmus Sandin and Adam Brooks passing in Hershey’s zone.
With 3:54 to go, Garrett Pilon would rush up with the puck, pulling the fake wrap around behind Kaskisuo, taking another shot, but stopped and turned over. This would then put Toronto’s defensive core hard at work, Sandin and Brooks once again pairing up to keep the puck out of the hands of the Bears.
After a short break with 2:52 left, the Marlies would receive another power play as Matt Moulson would be called for hooking, bringing the game back to four-on-four play. Engvall, along the boards, would pass the puck up to Rasmus Sandin who would lose it in Toronto’s zone, forcing Kaskisuo out of the net.
However, he would rebound and re-position himself with the Bears invading in the final minute of play. with just 40 seconds left, Aberg would send it along the boards from the Hershey Bears zone, MacMaster being the recipient, but unable to release it as the play was whistled down.
With an empty Hershey net and just 15 seconds left, Alexeyev would take one last stab at Kaskisuo, but unable to get through for the goal. This would force one last face-off from the left-side dot in Toronto’s zone. With one last save on an Alexeyev wraparound, the Marlies would claim the 4-3 victory. Hershey would finish the game outshooting Toronto 30-24.
The three stars, sponsored by Molson, would be presented after the game, Kenny Agostino being named number three with a goal and an assist in the Wednesday night victory. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would be named at number two with two goals in the Bears 4-3 loss. Adam Brooks would be awarded number one with a goal and an assist in the Marlies 4-3 win.
The Marlies return to action on Saturday evening at Coca-Cola Coliseum when they play host to the Cleveland Monsters in the first of a weekend doubleheader. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00pmET and it can be seen on AHL TV, meanwhile, it can be heard on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto.