TORONTO – The Toronto Marlies are off to their best start in franchise history, with a record of 6-0-2-0 through eight games. So, what’s the secret to success? And what’s next?
Starts in the Crease
Goaltending has stolen the show through the first eight, with Joseph Woll and Kasmir Kaskisuo standing tall. Kaskisuo is having a stunning season, holding a .936 save percentage and a 1.80 goals against average. With Michael Hutchinson struggling in the NHL, this could be his time for a promotion.
Woll has had a mixed season, but he kicked off the season with a shutout win against the Manitoba Moose, stopping all 23 shots. Woll would get his second start against Cleveland, where admittedly he was not as sharp as he needed to be, allowing five goals on 26 shots, in a shootout win. In his most recent start, he allowed four goals on 35 shots. Even though the Marlies lost in overtime, fans were treated to a highlight reel save from Woll in the third period.
One thing the entire Leafs organization has is solid netminders. Right now in Newfoundland, Ian Scott is injured, which has left Maksim Zhukov to hold down the fort. With the Growlers defense having some issues currently, goaltending shouldn’t be a problem amongst the three affiliates when everything balances out.
Lighting Up the Scoresheet
The offensive powerhouse continues to rumble, as five players have six or more points to start the season. As expected, Pontus Aberg leads the team in points, registering nine points thus far, with Igor Korshkov slightly behind. This spread of offense is what’s been able to keep Toronto third overall in the league.
What a Difference a Year Makes
At this point in the season last year, the Marlies started with losses in five out of the first eight. Since that time, the defense has been able to tighten, which has led to the opposition getting fewer shots and scoring chances. For reference, last season, the Marlies had 29 goals for and 35 goals against thru eight games. This season, they have scored 24 goals scored and allowed 18. With stats like these, it shows they’ve been able to keep control of the game while tightening the loose bolts on defense.
But It’s Okay for Us to Look Ahead, Right?
The Marlies hit the road for the next five games, starting tonight with a second encounter with their rivals, the Belleville Senators. After tonight’s game with the baby Sens, they’ll continue the Canadian circuit to Laval, where they’ll play the Rocket for the first time this season in a Saturday afternoon matinee.
From Canada, the Marlies will head west for the final three games of the road trip. They will have to wake up extra early on Wednesday for an 11:30 am EST start against the Rockford IceHogs. Finally, they will close out next week with a meeting with Grand Rapids on Friday and Saturday.
Fans can follow the Marlies along the way on AHL TV.
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