Oct 15, 2016
The Utica Comets got off to a rough start in their first regular season game.
A dominant Toronto Marlies’ special teams played a big part.
The Marlies totaled four power-play goals in two periods and earned a 5-2 victory over their North Division counterparts Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
Brandon Leipsic scored a goal and added three assists; Andreas Johnsson scored two power-play goals; others also totaled multiple points for Toronto, which were one of most high-scoring teams in the American Hockey League last season.
Toronto, which led 5-0 in the second period, finished 4 for 7 on the power play. Goaltender Garrett Sparks turned aside 27 shots for the Marlies.
Alex Grenier had a power-play goal and added an assist, Jordan Subban totaled two assists and Curtis Valk also scored for the Comets, which finished 1 for 6 on the man-advantage.
Goaltender Richard Bachman was tested throughout, totaling 29 saves on 34 shots.
The two teams meet again at 5 p.m. Sunday in Toronto.
Toronto came out quickly, eventually breaking open a scoreless game with two quick power-play goals.
With the Marlies on a 5-on-3 advantage, defenseman Andrew Nielsen scored from the slot for a 1-0 lead with 4:59 remaining. Less than a minute later, Nikita Soshnikov made it 2-0 with another power-play goal on a rebound in front.
The Marlies outshot the Comets 16-6 in the period.
Toronto extended its lead with three goals — two more on special teams — about four minutes apart. The Comets got on the board late.
Leipsic scored the eventual game-winner with 10:51 left before Andreas Johnsson added two power-play goals 1:19 apart not long after to give the Marlies a five-goal lead.
The Comets got on the board late, when Valk scored from in close on the left side past a sprawling Sparks to make it 5-1.
The Comets turned up the pressure early, adding a power-play goal about a minute into the period. The Comets made it 5-2 when Grenier scored off a one-timer from atop the left circle. Michael Chaput had an assist on the goal.
The Comets were not able to get another past Sparks, despite outshooting the Marlies 15-7 in the period.
Marlies 5, Comets 2
Utica 0 1 1 – 2
Toronto 2 3 0 – 5
1st Period-1, Toronto, Nielsen 1 (Leipsic, Kapanen), 15:01 (PP). 2, Toronto, Soshnikov 1 (Rychel, Kapanen), 15:49 (PP). Penalties-LaBate Uti (double minor – high-sticking), 12:45; Negrin Uti (tripping), 13:50; Holl Tor (hooking), 18:52.
2nd Period-3, Toronto, Leipsic 1 (Lindberg, Loov), 9:09. 4, Toronto, Johnsson 1 (Nielsen, Leipsic), 12:01 (PP). 5, Toronto, Johnsson 2 (Leipsic, Nielsen), 13:20 (PP). 6, Utica, Valk 1 (Grenier, Subban), 18:00. Penalties-Valiev Tor (tripping), 6:59; Sautner Uti (hooking), 11:50; Valk Uti (delay of game – faceoff violation), 12:01; Holl Tor (tripping), 13:35; Johnsson Tor (interference), 19:55.
3rd Period-7, Utica, Grenier 1 (Subban, Chaput), 1:02 (PP). Penalties-served by Rychel Tor (bench minor – too many men), 2:12; Lindberg Tor (hooking), 7:23; Stecher Uti (high-sticking), 8:38; Rendulic Uti (tripping), 17:14.
Shots on Goal-Utica 6-8-15-29. Toronto 16-11-7-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Utica 1 / 6; Toronto 4 / 7.
Goalies-Utica, Bachman 0-1-0-0 (34 shots-29 saves). Toronto, Sparks 1-0-0-0 (29 shots-27 saves).
Referees-Mike Campbell (36), Nick Gill (65). Linesmen-Jordan Browne (67), Kevin Hastings (61).