Toronto Marlies Report: Nylander’s play, Brown hits 50 points


The Toronto Marlies went 1-2 in three big games, a not so impressive win margin for the continued playoff push.

With 15 games left on the schedule and two points out of a playoff position, the Marlies are in the thick of the playoff race and return home to play a five game home stand after a two game road trip.

In their Mar. 12 game at home vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Marlies struck first blood with Byron Froese (12) scoring the first goal that was unassisted. The Phantoms bounced back, scoring two goals by forward Nick Cousins in the first period to lead the game 2-1.

Matt Frattin (19) scored on the power play with assists from Connor Brown and William Nylander to knot the game at 2 goals a piece. In the third period, Marlies forward Greg Mckegg took a penalty for roughing before engaging in a fight with Adam Comrie, and Phantoms forward Jason Akeson scored the go ahead goal on the power play to make the score 3-2.

Cousins was brought down on a breakaway and was rewarded a penalty shot with 2 minutes to go in the third period. He scored, completing his hat-trick and burying the Marlies in a 4-2 hole. Marlies young gun Nylander tallied his fourth goal of the season on a snipe, and second point of the night, but it was to late in the third period as the Marlies dropped a much needed win. Goalie Christopher Gibson was in net for the loss, stopping 26 pucks on 30 shots.

The Marlies packed their bags in hopes of forgetting the loss at home versus the Phantoms and travel to Adirondack to play the Flames. The Flames sit in 9th place and two points ahead of the Marlies.

In a high scoring first period that saw the Flames take an early 3-0 lead, and after the third goal, starting goalie Antoine Bibeau was pulled and replaced by Gibson. Nylander (5) said enough is enough and deposited a puck behind goalie Doug Carr which was assisted by Brown and Rupert. The Flames would score again with around three minutes to go to take an early 4-1 lead.

Forward Josh Leivo cut the lead in half with his ninth of the season assisted by Brendan Mikkelson, which was the only goal scored in the second period. Nylander (6) scored his second of the game 17 seconds into the third period to bring the Marlies within one goal – Mikkelson and Frattin with the assists.

40 seconds later, Flames forward Markus Granlund responded with a goal of his own, making the score 5-3. Forward Rupert would record his 12th goal of the season off a lone assists from Brown, which gave Brown his 50th point of his rookie campaign.

Gibson made 26 saves on 28 shots in relief of Bibeau, who only made three saves on six stops. The Marlies continued their losing ways, dropping a crucial two points to a team who is also in the playoff hunt.

The team travelled to Montreal a day after their loss to the Flames to face the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Marlies scored three minutes into the game, Rupert (13) scored off a nice feed from Brown and the team didn’t look back, as forward Sam Carrick scored into an empty net late in the third period to put a dagger in the heart to the Bulldogs. Gibson looked stronger than ever, recording 29 saves on 29 shots in the win.

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Other Notes

-The Marlies are four points out of the last playoff spot, which is held by the Hamilton Bulldogs. They have games vs. Lake Erie Monsters on Mar. 20, who are two points behind the Marlies and the 13th place Rochester Americans on Mar. 21. These two games are crucial to the Marlies – if they can take two points from the Monsters, it will most likely bury them in the standings and they can’t lose to a team who is nine points behind them in the standings if they are a playoff team.

-Brown has been a vital part of the Marlies success – scoring 17 goals and adding 34 assists for 51 points in 61 games to lead the Marlies in scoring as a rookie.

-Goalie Gibson looks to be head coach Gord Dineen’s guy in between the pipes moving forward – as Gibson has been playing well.

-Nylander was on a four game point streak before the game vs. Bulldogs, but in that span he recorded 3 goals 2 assist for five points – putting him at 6 goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 21 games.

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