Marlies score three in second period to defeat Stars, win third straight game
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Marlies (4) - Stars (3)
Matt Read’s late second-period goal was the eventual game-winner as the Toronto Marlies held off a late rally to defeat the Texas Stars 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.
Read’s one-timer at 17:28 of the second gave the Marlies their third goal of the period to push their lead to two after battling back from two separate one-goal deficits.
Fresh off their annual Royal Road Trip where they went 2-2-2-1, Toronto (10-2-2-1) has now won three straight overall, including two at home, pushing their record to 6-0-0-0 at Coca Cola Coliseum.
Head coach Sheldon Keefe admitted that the home-ice advantage has helped his team work through some early-season struggles.
“No matter where we are, we have to pick up points. We've had a good start to the season here for sure,” said Keefe, during his post-game scrum. “We've been fortunate enough to [collect points] while really not quite finding our game and fighting injuries.”
Pierre Engvall, Egor Korshkov, and Nicholas Baptiste also scored for the Marlies, who have scored 17 goals in their last three games.
With the first period marker, Engvall has now scored five goals in his last three games, something he attributes to an increase in confidence.
“I think I've always been a guy who shoots the puck a lot,” Engvall said after the game. “I think this year I got more confident and when I get to the shooting areas I don't think, I just shoot it.”
Keefe also praised the Swede for his confidence and overall play this season.
“Confidence and opportunity are a big part of it,” said Keefe. “He's been skating like that through the neutral zone, driving play up the ice and generating shots and chances. He's been really good for us in all areas.”
Pontus Aberg’s assist on Engvall’s first period goal was the 150th point in his AHL career. The Marlies’ leading scorer left the game late in third after being checked into the boards. The injury is not believed to be serious.
Michael Hutchinson overcame a shaky first period to earn the victory, making 30 saves in his first game with the Marlies this season.
Toronto played with a depleted blueline on Sunday, as both Timothy Liljegren (knee) and Rasmus Sandin (upper body) were out of the lineup. Keefe admitted the tough schedule and injuries have begun to affect the team’s performance.
“Our depth clearly wasn't enough for us to fight the fatigue that we had throughout the game today, which really showed in the third period. It's been a really long week for our team,” said Keefe.
“The combination of four really long practice days and going with five defencemen yesterday, I think it took it's toll so we're going give our guys a bit of a pass for a lot of the stuff in the game today.”
Michael Mersch, John Nyberg, and Adam Mascherin scored for Texas (3-12-0-2) who have lost 10 games in a row.
Goaltender Jake Oettinger made 20 saves in defeat.
The Marlies will continue their five-game homestand Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EDT against the Laval Rocket.