Toronto Marlies Top Laval Rocket In First Game After All-Star Break

February 9, 2024

The Toronto Marlies took down the Laval Rocket 6-1 on Friday night at Coca-Cola Coliseum. Toronto is now third in the North Division with a 20-14-6-2record.

Logan Shaw opened the scoring on Friday night with a power play goal just under four minutes into the game. Mitchell Stephens tied the game for the Rocket 14 seconds later.

After a scoreless second period, the Marlies scored five goals in the third. William Villeneuve started the onslaught with a goal eight minutes into the final frame. Marshall Rifai and Logan Shaw scored at 10:32 and 10:47, respectively, to stretch the lead to 4-1 a few minutes later. Joseph Blandisi added an empty net with just under five minutes remaining and Logan Shaw completed the 6-1 victory with a hat trick goal one minute later.  

While the offence attack didn’t overwhelm until the third, head coach John Gruden felt the Marlies game was consistent throughout.

“Yeah, I thought maybe we deserved abetter fate of a score going into the third,” Gruden said after the game. “Just give them credit. Thought we got probably the most consistent effort from all four lines and six defenceman tonight. I think the score evens out, maybe a little bit more in our favour. But I think we stuck to the process and again they got rewarded for it in the third.”

“You know what, I think we had the chances prior to that. It was just a case of we put it in,” Cameron Gaunce added. “I think what we kind of learned about ourselves over that road trip is we've got a lot more mental toughness than we gave ourselves credit for. The stick to it ness of our group tonight, perseverance was something that shot through. I think that's going to be key moving forward.”

With a hat trick tonight, Logan Shaw has scored six goals in his past five games. Both Josiah Slavin and Zach Solow extended their individual point streaks to four games against the Rocket.

Dennis Hildeby stopped 31 of Laval’s 32 shots, picking up his third straight victory and extending a streak of three games in which he has allowed one goal or fewer.

The Marlies will be back in action tomorrow afternoon against the Rocket at Coca-Cola Coliseum. Puck drop is at 4:00pm on the Toronto Maple Leafs app, AHLTV, TSN2 and NHL Network.

Game notes:


Laval: M. Stephens (6) (Unassisted)Goaltender: J. Dobes (34/39) L

Toronto: L. Shaw (17) PP (K. Clifford, J. Blandisi), W. Villeneuve (2) (Z. Solow, J. Slavin), M. Rifai (2) (J. Slavin, R. Mastrosimone), L. Shaw (18) (N. Abruzzese, C. Gaunce), J. Blandisi (12) EN (M. Kokkonen, A. Steeves), L. Shaw (19) (M. Kokkonen, W. Villeneuve)Goaltender: D. Hildeby (31/32) W


Logan Shaw opened the scoring at 3:53 of the first period and added two goals at 10:47 and 16:10 of the third period. Shaw’s first goal was his 100th point recorded with the Marlies. This was his fourth career AHL hat trick and second against Laval. He has 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists) in 39 games this season.William Villeneuve scored the game-winning goal at 7:57 of the third period and later added the secondary assist on Shaw’s third goal. This was his first career AHL game-winning goal. He has 17 points (2 goals, 15 assists) in 31 games this season.Marshall Rifai scored at 10:32 of the third period. He has 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists) in 30 games this season.Joseph Blandisi scored on the empty net at 15:12 of the third period and earlier picked up the secondary assist on Shaw’s first period goal. He has points (3-7-10) in six of his last seven games. Blandisi has 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 41 games this season.Kyle Clifford recorded the primary assist on Shaw’s first period goal. He has 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in 32 games this season.Zach Solow had the primary assist on Villeneuve’s third period goal. He has points (2-4-6) in four consecutive games. Solow has 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 37 games this season.Josiah Slavin registered the secondary assist on Villeneuve’s goal and the primary assist on Rifai’s goal, both in the third period. He has points (2-4-6) in four consecutive games. Slavin has 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 41 games this season.Robert Mastrosimone picked up the secondary assist on Rifai’s third period goal. He has points (2-3-5) in four consecutive games. Mastrosimone has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 30 games this season.Nick Abruzzese recorded the primary assist on Shaw’s first goal of the third period. He has points (2-4-6) in four of his last five games. He has 32 points (8 goals, 24 assists) in 42 games this season.Cameron Gaunce had the secondary assist on Shaw’s first goal of the third period. This was his 800th career AHL game. He has four assists in 17 games with the Marlies this season.Mikko Kokkonen had the primary assists on Blandisi’s and Shaw’s third period goals. He has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in 38 games this season.Alex Steeves registered the secondary assist on Blandisi’s third period goal. He has 37 points (18 goals, 19 assists) in 37 games this season.Dennis Hildeby stopped 31 of 32 shots he faced.


The Marlies went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play. Toronto is 12-5-5-2 when scoring on the power play and 12-6-1-1 when not allowing a goal on the penalty kill.Toronto had a 40-32 edge in shots in all situations. Logan Shaw and Alex Steeves led the Marlies with six shots on goal. Toronto is 13-11-4-2 when outshooting their opponent.The Marlies are 6-10-5-2 against North Division opponents and 2-1-0-0 against the Rocket this season. Toronto has outscored Laval 14-6 through three games.


Scoring first                                        19-3-4-2

Tied after 1st                                        6-5-3-2

Tied after 2nd                                        3-3-1-1

At home                                              9-7-4-0

February                                              2-0-0-1

Friday                                                  5-3-1-1

MARLIES LEADERS *Amongst active AHL players

Goals               19 (L. Shaw)

Assists            26 (J. Blandisi)

Points              38 (J. Blandisi, A. Steeves)

PPG                 5 (L. Shaw, R. Tverberg)

Shots               122 (L. Shaw)

+/-                    +19 (T. Miller, M. Rifai)

PIMS                74 (J. Blandisi, K. Clifford)



On Logan Shaw: His game is getting better. I think he's doing a great job of being a really good leader. (When) he's playing, he's asked (to do) a lot. Played penalty kill, power play. His five-on-five minutes against their top line, against good players. I'm glad that he's getting rewarded because he is doing a lot of good things out there. I'm just glad for him to get some points too, get rewarded for that.


On his 800th AHL game:It was wonderful. You know, being able to have my wife at the game tonight too, it was great. I've had a few milestones in my career. To be able to have it with her and share it with her and share it with this group. When you're on a PTO you don't know how the group is going to take. You hope they're going to treat you well. You're trying out, you're trying to take a job essentially. But, from the coaching staff to the support staff, to the players, I've felt nothing but welcome here. To be able to share an experience like that with this group, it means a lot. So, throughout the night I was trying to block it out. We've got some supportive teammates and staff who were kind of talking about it during the game. But it's just a special night. Something that I'll remember for a long time.

UPCOMING GAMES: *All times Eastern Standard Time

February 10 vs. Laval – 4:00 p.m.

February 14 vs. WB/Scranton – 11:00 a.m.

February 16 at Belleville – 7:00 p.m.

February 17 vs. Hershey – 4:00 p.m.

February 19 vs. Rochester – 2:00 p.m. (Scotiabank Arena)

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