By Stan Smith

In this second weekly Toronto Marlies update, Toronto Maple Leafs’ writer Stan Smith will update the big club’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate and share how the team did this past week.

The Marlies hit the road to face the Laval Rocket in a two-game series this past weekend. The results were a split for the team.

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Game One: Laval Mounts a Comeback to Win the Game

In the first game, the Marlies held a promising lead at the halfway mark of the third period, seemingly in control of the match. However, Laval mounted a swift comeback, scoring two goals in just 27 seconds to level the game. Their remarkable resurgence continued with just over a minute remaining in the third period, leading to a 5-3 victory for the Rocket. This victory marked only the second of the season for Laval.

Marlies’ Nick Robertson contributed a goal and an assist in this game. Veteran NHL goalie, Martin Jones, now with the Marlies, suffered his first loss of the season. That brings his record to 2-1.

An interesting addition to the Marlies, Keiffer Bellows, found the back of the net in his debut game. Bellows, the son of former NHLer Brian Bellows, is on a professional tryout (PTO) with the Marlies. He’s seeking a spot on the team following the non-renewal of his contract by the Philadelphia Flyers after the 2022-23 season. Mikko Kokkonen added another goal to the Marlies’ tally.

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Game Two: Marlies Dennis Hildeby Throws a Shutout at the Comets

In the rematch on Saturday, the Marlies maintained control throughout the game and won a convincing 5-0 victory. Surprisingly, the game was characterized by a slow, low-event pace, despite the referees calling 12 penalties. Both teams had strong penalty killing, with the Marlies scoring a power-play goal out of seven opportunities and effectively killing off all five penalties they took.

Leading the charge for the Marlies were Alex Steeves, who tallied two goals, and Nick Robertson, who replicated his performance from the first game with a goal and an assist. Robertson currently leads the Marlies with 11 points. That consists of five goals and six assists. Steeves holds the team’s top spot for goals, with six. He’s also added four assists for 10 points.

Alex Steeves, Maple Leafs

Dennis Hildeby, in goal for the Marlies, stood tall. He stopped all 26 shots he faced to earn his first shutout and first win of the season. After three games, Hildeby now holds a record of 1-1-1. He also has a 1.68 goals-against-average and an impressive 0.935 save percentage.

Looking Ahead for the Marlies

Looking ahead, the Marlies will embark on a midweek journey to Milwaukee to face the Admirals on Wednesday before continuing their road trip with two games against the Grand Rapids Griffins on the weekend.

The Marlies’ season record now stands at 5-2-2, tying them for second place in the North Division with the Cleveland Monsters, just two points behind the division-leading Rochester Americans.

Related: Grading the Maple Leafs 2023-24 Season So Far

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