Marlies spread scoring around to take 2-0 series lead on Utica

While goalie Frederik Andersen was great for the Maple Leafs on Saturday, it was quite a weekend for big Marlie centre Frederik Gauthier.

After an unsung role in the farm team’s 3-2 overtime win over the Utica Comets in Saturday’s series opener, Gauthier had two assists and was named first star of Sunday’s 5-2 win at Ricoh Coliseum.

“Gauthier has really found another level in his game here this weekend,” coach Sheldon Keefe told the media afterward. “He was terrific for us in the playoffs last year (four points in six games) and is showing once again that this is his favourite time of year. We are really happy to see that he has taken that step and he has produced for us.

“Those guys (Gauthier’s line with Colin Greening and Pierre Engvall) have been excellent in both games. Today, in particular, they made a real difference.”

Greening, Engvall, and Dmytro Timashov scored Sunday, along with newly arrived Swedish winger Carl Grundstrom and Trevor Moore’s empty netter as the Marlies now have eight different scorers in the best-of-five AHL series.

“I thought (Timashov) was outstanding yesterday,” added Keefe. “He really controlled the play and created a lot. He drew that penalty in overtime to help us win yesterday. Today he showed a little more fatigue and things like that, the execution wasn’t quite the same for him. But he was working, he has been good on the puck. I am really happy with what we have seen from him.”

Newly arrived Swedish winger Carl Grundstrom had his first goal on Sunday, while Trevor Moore had an empty-netter.

It was an unfortunate turn of events for Utica early in the third period after they’d tied it 2-2 on a 5-on-3 power play. Within a minute, defenceman Martin Marincin exited the box and helped set up Greening for another go-ahead goal.

Garret Sparks, who had stitches to his nose in Game 1 after a stick was accidentally jammed through his mask, came back with 21 saves. Thatcher Demko, who had the Marlies’ number late in the regular season, lost for the second time on the weekend, after facing 28 shots.

The challenge for the Marlies moving forward is getting past a tough Utica penalty killing unit. They finished second in the league in the regular season and part of that was built on holding the Marlies to one goal on Toronto’s last 21 chances. So far in these series, they’ve pushed back the Marlies on 12 of 14 chances, though Chris Mueller’s Game 1 OT winner was with the extra man.

Keefe made one lineup change Sunday, putting Andrew Nielsen on defence for Andreas Borgman. Utica, meanwhile, unveiled highly ranked Canucks prospect Jonathan Dahlen, a winger who has been in Sweden all season. He was blanked on three shots and was a minus one. Cam Darcy had the first Utica goal. Game 3 is Wednesday at Adirondack Bank Center and a fourth if necessary there Friday.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies