The North Division leading Toronto Marlies defeated the Utica Comets 5-2 Wednesday night at the Adirondack Bank Center.
Marlies 5, Comets 2
Both teams had plenty of chances in the first with Utica and Toronto combining for 31 shots, but it was ultimately the Marlies that got on the board first with a power play strike with 48 seconds remaining in the period courtesy of Miro Aaltonen.
Patrick Wiercioch tied the game with a shorthanded goal six minutes into the middle frame. Justin Holl regained the lead five minutes later with assist from Ben Smith. In the last minute of the period, Dmytro Timashov put Toronto up 3-1, burying a loose puck in front.
Holl struck again seven minutes into the final period. Travis Dermott collected the assist. Chris Mueller put the Marlies up 5-1 halfway through the third period. Timashov was credited with the assist. Reid Boucher brought the Comets to within three, but it was too little, too late.
Thatcher Demko stopped 35 of 40 shots and his record falls to 5-5-1. Garret Sparks finished with 28 saves to improve his record to 9-2-0. The Comets power play went 0-5, while the penalty kill allowed one goal in three attempts.
Head coach Trent Cull said after the game that missed opportunities early on was the difference.
"I thought we had a good first period. I thought we played pretty well to our structure. I thought we had some really good chances, some good looks in the first that if one or two of those goes in, it's a different feel to the game. Like I said that five on three was a big factor that hurt us but also you go into the second period, you get one shorthanded goal we didn't create much other offense there and I thought that that's when their depth started to turn it up a little bit and it was tough for our team to compete."
The Comets return to action Friday night as they hit the road for the first of a two-game set against the Laval Rocket. Puck drop from Place Bell is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
**Italics denote game highlights included**