By Stan Smith

The Toronto Marlies played two games at home in less than 24 hours versus the Laval Rocket and they could not have been any more different.

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Marlies 6 – Laval Rocket 1

On Friday, the Toronto Marlies broke a 1-1 tie game wide open by scoring five goals in the third period to walk away with a 6-1 victory. Logan Shaw led the way with a hat trick while Joseph Blandisi, William Villeneuve, and Marshall Rifai added single goals. Dennis Hildeby continued his strong play allowing just one goal on 32 shots. Toronto scored those five third-period goals in eight minutes and thirteen seconds.  

Laval Rocket 7 – Marlies 1

After being embarrassed in the third period of Friday night’s game, the Rocket came out of the gate with a sense of purpose opening up a 3-0 lead in the first period. They added three more goals in the second to extend their lead to 6-0 before Roni Hirvonen scored on the power play late to get the Marlies on the board. Laval added another goal in the third period to round out the scoring.

Dennis Hildeby, Maple Leafs Prospect in Goal

After giving up three goals on twelve shots in the first period, Head Coach John Gruden replaced starter Keith Petruzzelli with Dennis Hildeby to start the second period. Hildeby did not fare any better than Petruzzelli did as he allowed three goals on thirteen shots in the second and then followed that up by allowing one goal on six shots in the third period. 

It was one of those games that a team has to flush and forget as the Marlies could not muster much of anything for most of the game. 

Individual Performances

Logan Shaw’s hat trick in the first game propelled him into the team lead in goals this season with 19, one more than Alex Steeves. Shaw led the Marlies in goals and overall points last season with 21 goals and 69 points in 69 games. He has 33 points in 40 games this season.

Joseph Blandisi picked up a goal and an assist in the Marlies win and moved back into a tie for first in overall Marlies scoring with Steeves at 38 points. Steeves picked up one assist on the weekend. 

Shaw was the only player on the team to score three points in the two games. Three of the players that managed two points were defensemen. They were Marshall Rifai, William Villeneuve, and Mikko Kokkonen. The other players with two points were Robert Mastrosimone and Josiah Slavin.

Logan Shaw, now with the Toronto Marlies

Dennis Hildeby had his third strong performance in a row on Saturday allowing just one goal on 32 shots. He struggled when he came into the second game at the start of the second game, allowing four goals on 19 shots. Hildeby’s record for the season sits at 12-7-4 in 24 appearances with a 2.35 GAA and 0.913 save percentage.

Keith Petruzzelli has struggled in his last two starts. After giving up five goals in a 6-5 shootout loss to Utica last week, he lasted just one period on Sunday after allowing three goals on twelve shots. His record is now 6-6-2 with a 3.40 GAA and 0.871 save percentage.

Related: Marlies Report:  5 Of 6 Points Before All-Star Break

Where The Marlies Stand

The Marlies remain in a tie for third place with the Rochester Americans in the AHL’s North Division with 48 points. However, they are in a tenuous position. Only three points separate the last five teams in the seven-team division. Those five teams are fighting for three playoff spots. 

What’s Next?

The Marlies play four games in the next six days starting with a home game against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Wednesday night. On their recent road trip, Toronto won their last meeting with the Penguins 4-1.

They then skip down the 401 highway to take on the Belleville Senators on Friday night before returning home for a 4:00 pm game with the Hershey Bears on Saturday. On Monday the Rochester Americans are in town. 

Related: So What About the Maple Leafs’ First Line?

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