The Toronto Marlies shutout the Belleville Senators 8-0 on Friday night at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Marshall Rifai opened the scoring with his first of the year just under three minutes into the second period. Dylan Gambrell scored a power play goal eight minutes later, extending the Marlies lead to two. Josiah Slavin added the Marlies third goal with just over two minutes remaining in the second period, giving Toronto a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes of play.
Ryan Tverberg scored a natural hat-trick in the third period, adding goals at 1:53, 8:52 and 14:40 in the third period, giving the Marlies a six-goal lead. Max Ellis added a goal just under a minute after Tverbeg’s third goal, extending the lead to seven. Tverberg then closed the night with his fourth goal of the game, securing an 8-0 win for the Marlies.
Tverberg is the first Marlie to ever score four goals in a single period and Friday’s effort marks his first professional hat-trick.
“I'm not shocked at his performance,” Head Coach John Gruden said about Tverberg after the game.“Can't say that he's going to score four. That's the point of the messaging of, if you do things right and you play the way he has, he's around the puck and he wins his battles and he does the things that he needs to do to be successful.And then when it was on his stick, he was feeling it, and confidence is a huge thing. Happy for him.”
“It’s amazing,” William Villeneuve added about Tverberg’s game. “Ryan is always such a funny guy. Well liked around the locker room. He's really good. Think he's really underrated. He plays a lot of, plays in a lot of situations. Plays hard minutes and I think just really nice to see him getting rewarded tonight.”
Villeneuve added four assists, setting a new season high for points in a game. The Marlies also collectively scored four power play goals on Friday, extending a streak of five games with a power play goal.
Dennis Hildeby stopped 20 shots for his third career AHL shutout.
The Marlies will be back in action on Sunday in Belleville.The game can be seen live on AHLTV.
Belleville: No goalsGoaltender: K. Mandolese (35/43) L
Toronto: M. Rifai (1) (W. Villeneuve, T. Tverberg), D. Gambrell (6) PP (K. Clifford, K. Bellows), J. Slavin (4) (W. Villeneuve, M. Rifai), R. Tverberg (3) (J. Slavin, M. Ellis), R. Tverberg (4) PP (M. Ellis), R. Tverberg (5) PP (K. Bellows, T. Niemelä), M. Ellis (2) (W. Villeneuve, D. Hildeby), R. Tverberg (6) (K. Bellows, W. Villeneuve)Goaltender: D. Hildeby (20/20) W
ON THE SCORESHEET
Marshall Rifai opened the scoring at 2:49 of the second period and later added the secondary assist on Slavin’s second period goal. This was his first goal of the season. He also has eight assists through 24 games this season.Dylan Gambrell scored on the power play at 11:00 of the second period. This was his third power play goal of the season. He has 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 31 games this season.Josiah Slavin scored at 17:41 of the second period and later added the primary assist on Tverberg’s first third period goal. He has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 31 games this season.Ryan Tverberg scored four goals in the third period, three on the power play. He also had the secondary assist on Rifai’s second period goal. He is the first Marlie to record five points since Jan. 14, 2023 (L. Shaw, 1-4-5 at Laval). Tverberg has 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 17 games this season.Max Ellis scored at 15:25 of the third period. He earlier recorded the secondary assist and lone assist on two of Tverberg’s third period goals.William Villeneuve recorded four assists, tying him for the most assists collected by a defenceman in one period. He has 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) in 26 games this season.Kyle Clifford picked up the primary assist on Gambrell’s second period goal. He has 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in 26 games this season.Kieffer Bellows registered the secondary assist on Gambrell’s second period goal and the primary assists on two of Tverberg’s third period goals. He has points (3-3-6) in three consecutive games.Topi Niemelä picked up the secondary assist on Tverberg’s third goal of the third period. He has 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) in 29 games this season, leading all Marlies defencemen.Dennis Hildeby stopped all 20 shots he faced in his third shutout of the season. He also picked up his first career AHL assist.TEAM NOTES
Ryan Tverberg is the first Marlie to record four goals in one period as well as three power play goals in one period. The lastThe Marlies went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and 4-for-10 on the power play. Toronto has power play goals in five consecutive games, setting a season high streak. Toronto is 7-4-4-1 when scoring on the power play and 7-5-0-1 when not allowing a goal on the penalty kill.Toronto had a 43-20 edge in shots in all situations. Toronto has recorded 30 or more shots in each game against Belleville. Ryan Tverberg led the Marlies with seven shots on goal. Toronto is 9-9-4-1 when outshooting their opponent.The Marlies are 4-8-5-1 against North Division opponents and are 2-2-2-0 against the Senators.Toronto begins their annual Boat Show Road Trip against Belleville on Jan. 14. The club will face six different clubs in seven games and return to Coca-Cola Coliseum on Feb. 9.RECORD WHEN
Scoring first 13-4-4-1Tied after 1st 2-5-2-1Leading after 2nd 10-1-3-0At home 8-7-4-0January 1-2-1-0Friday 3-3-1-1
MARLIES LEADERS *Amongst active AHL players
Goals 14 (K. Bellows)Assists 18 (N. Abruzzese)
Points 27 (A. Steeves)PPG 3 (N. Abruzzese, D. Gambrell, D. Ovchinnikov, R. Tverberg)Shots 94 (L. Shaw)+/- +16 (J. Blandisi, M. Rifai)PIMS 74 (K. Clifford)
HEAD COACH JOHN GRUDEN
On Ryan Tverberg’s performance:I'm not shocked at his performance. You don't expect (a five-point game), can't say that he's going to. That's the point of the messaging of, if you do things right and you play the way he has, he's around the puck and he wins his battles and he does the things that he needs to do to be successful. And then when it was on his stick he was feeling it and confidence is a huge thing. Happy for him. I know he will, he'll continue to keep going, doing the things that are necessary for him to become a better player and help the team win.
On the team’s performance and standing up for each other:The leadership with Shaw, Blandisi, and Clifford. I haven't even looked at the scoresheet, nor will I. They set the tone. They set the tone this week in practice, they're great leaders. You can see what they do when one of their teammates is in trouble. They stick up for one another and that's important moving forward. That's a strong team. At the end of the day, if you win or lose, you’ve got to stick together. They got that close bond and it's because of those guys. My first year, they've been here a few years and they've created that. Very fortunate to come into that.
WILLIAM VILLENEUVE (4 ASSISTS)
On staying focused in the game:I think we've been on the right path the last couple of games. Think we just didn't get the result we wanted. Belleville is a tough team, play physical, they play chippy. We did a good job of keeping cool and capitalizing on the power play opportunities. Honestly, it's kind of a relief for us to get that win. Feel like we can move forward and keep playing some more games.
UPCOMING GAMES:*All times Eastern Standard Time
January 14 at Belleville – 2:00 p.m.January 20 at Charlotte – 4:00 p.m.January 21 at Charlotte – 1:00 p.m.January 24 at Cleveland – 7:00 p.m.January 27 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m.