Toronto Marlies vs Utica Comets – Game 5

By: Nabeela Damji

Sunday, April 29, 2018


 Toronto: Toronto, Grundstrom (Engvall, Johnsson)(PP); Grundstrom (Johnsson, Aaltonen);Johnsson (Dermott)(PP); Timashov (B. Smith)(EN).


Goaltender: G.Sparks(37/37)


Goaltender: T.Demko (34/37)



The Toronto Marlies and Utica Comets headed to a deciding Game 5 at Ricoh Coliseum on Sunday afternoon in Toronto.


The two teams came out full of energy. Toronto was able to get on the powerplay early, when Carl Grundstrom connected on a one-timer from the side of the net from Pierre Engvall. Andreas Johnsson, earend the assist.  This was Johnsson’s first game back since being loaned by the Maple Leafs.

The Marlies came out not wasting time and added good pressure in terms of keeping the puck it in the comets zone the majority of the time.  The comets didn’t register their first gal until 8 minutes into the frame. The Marlies did start to show signs of fatigue in the first, with a near goal from Utica after Garett Sparks was caught off guard.

Amazing chance for the marlies on a mini partial breakaway but forgot to actually   shoot. With less than 10, the Marlies went on another powerplay. They did a great job of keeping it the comets zone and put good pressure had some good chances but didn’t capitalize.  Utica went on the powerplay with less than five and did a god job adding pressure with two shots on goal and a shot that hit the post but missed the net just as time expired on the man advantage Garett Sparks with an with an incredible  save on Cam Darcy stick side,  again hitting the post but sparks making the save to keep the Comets scoreless.

Toronto led 1-0 after the first.  Shots were 12-9 for the Marlies after one.


Scrappy to start off the second with penalties on both sides, roughing for Utica,  and high sticking  for Toronto.  Tripping penalty for Utica, Toronto went on the pp early in the first but again couldn’t capitalize.   Toronto went on the powerplay again with over 11 minutes in the period due to a 11 clipping, but that was quickly erased after a Toronto penalty.  The Marlies did still however keep great pressure in the Comets zone on the four on four. Sparks with an abundance of good saves included a nifty glove save with less than nine to go to keep the Marlies with the lead.

With less than eight in the period, Miro Aaltonen’s pass to Andreas Johannsen set up Janson Grundstrom for his second of the night to give the Marlies a 2-0 lead. 


Utica took a 15 for tripping penalty with 30 seconds left in the second frame. The Marlies weren’t able to score on the man advantage, but headed into the break with a 2-0 lead. Shots were 25-21 Marlies after two.



The Marlies started the second period with a 2-0 lead and a power play opportunity.  Less than a minute in Andreas Johnsson blasted a slapper top shelf to make it 3-0 for Toronto. The goal was assisted by Travis Dermott, and was a powerplay goal.  Back on the power play less than a minute into the final frame,

Again, the Marlies did a great job of protecting the puck and winning battles, even though they sometimes took passing too seriously, and could have been much more effective shooting the puck.

With less than 5 to go in the third, Utica pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, and Engvall added an empty netter, but the goal wouldn’t count as Toronto was offside. Then again with the Comets with an extra attacker, they added pressure in front of the net, but Sparks was there to keep the lead safe. With 2:11 left and the Comets goalie still on the bench, Dymtro Timashov was able to add an empty netter that actually counted to give the Marlies a 4-0 lead. This was Timashov’s third goal of the series.


The Marlies won 4-0 over the Utica Comets. Sparks stopped all 37 shots he faced for his second career AHL playoff shutout. For the Comets, Thatcher Demko made 34 saves on 37 shots.

  The Marlies will face the Syracuse Crunch in the Second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.



Coach Keef on Sparks performance

“Sparksy had a statement game today after frankly being outplayed on the road. I had trust. He’s earned that. But it is a tough call because Calvin Pickard has been so outstanding for us. It was pretty clear he wasn’t going to let one by.”

Travis Dermott on his playoff beard

“I had to shave. Team picture? Not happening! I couldn’t really say much about it but when I got that text I was like ‘Oh, no!’ I’ll be starting over. Hopefully you guys can see it in the nice light. “


Sparks on Coach Keef trusting him for Game 5

“it’s everything, That’s Everything. Calvin Pickard is an NHL goalie. After the weekend I had in Utica, they could have done anything.”