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Toronto Marlies Recap: Michael Hutchinson carries Marlies to win on his birthday

James Reimer’s former teammate made 34 saves on his 29th birthday.

Michael Hutchinson (#31) of the Toronto Marlies
Credit: Christian Bonin

With Calle Rosen, Martin Marincin, Chris Mueller, Trevor Moore, Andreas Borgman, Frankie Corrado, and Mason Marchment out of the lineup, Michael Hutchinson and the Toronto Marlies found a way to beat the Cleveland Monsters 3-2 in regulation on Saturday night. Josh Jooris, Adam Brooks, and Tanner MacMaster scored for the Marlies while Hutchinson stopped 34 of 36 for the win on his 29th birthday.

The Team

Quick injury update:

Defense: Calle Rosen will miss the weekend with a foot injury, and hopes to start skating this week. Andreas Borgman is out with another concussion, so his timeline is unknown. Frank Corrado has an injured knee. There’s no official timeline for him either, but he hasn’t been skating at all so it’s likely to be weeks before he returns as well.

Forward: It’s been a few weeks since Chris Mueller went down with a hamstring injury, but he’s still out. It’s all but certain that Pierre Engvall will switch back to LW (shifting Nick Baptiste back to his strong side) when he returns. Engvall as a centre is not a long-term plan. Finally, unless the Marlies go deep in the Calder Cup playoffs (don’t hold your breath), Mason Marchment is probably done for the season.

All the goalies are healthy, thank god.

Forwards

Nick Baptiste - Adam Brooks - Jeremy Bracco

Dmytro Timashov - Pierre Engvall - Michael Carcone

Tanner MacMaster - Brady Ferguson - Gabriel Gagne

Tom Sestito - Josh Jooris - Colin Greening

Defense

Rasmus Sandin - Vincent LoVerde

Sam Jardine - Timothy Liljegren

Jordan Subban - Steve Oleksy

Goalies

Michael Hutchinson

Kasimir Kaskisuo

Power Play

Penalty Kill


The Game

First Period

1-0

The Marlies were looking pretty good in the first few minutes of the game. The weakened defense obviously gave up some shots, but no major mistakes. That couldn’t have been said for the Monsters. Doyle Somerby tried an outlet pass, but ended up sending the puck right to Josh Jooris. With Tom Sestito on his left, Jooris completed a slick give-and-go before deking to his backhand and slotting the puck into the gaping cage.

2-0

This goal was all Adam Brooks. He brought the puck into the offensive zone and set himself up for a shot at the top of the point. With the defense scrambling, Brooks walked around them and threw the puck on net. Both Bracco and Baptiste took swipes at the rebound, but it was Brooks who came bursting into the crease to get wood on puck and score.

After One

Considering how underpowered the team is at the moment, and having to rely on so many young kids to carry the load, it was a very good period for the Marlies. They got out-shot 8-12, but bit back when they had their opportunities and played to their strengths: speed, skill, and smarts. Both Liljegren and Sandin, I thought, had good firsts.

Second Period

Early in the period, Tanner MacMaster found himself with a step on a Monsters defender. He burst up the middle of the ice for a breakaway, but got hauled down. The referee immediately pointed to the spot for a penalty shot. MacMaster got up and took the attempt, but ran out of room on the short side and just threw the puck into the chest of goaltender Brad Thiessen.

The Marlies got a pair of power plays within the first eight minutes of the second. The first was much better than the second — Baptiste has incredible hands and ability in front of the net — because on the second power play, the Marlies gave up a short-handed breakaway. Dan DeSalvo tried to shoot low glove, but Michael Clutchinson came up massively with the glove. The birthday boy waved the glove in celebration, just to rub it in.

3-0

The Monsters took a third penalty in the period, two minutes for too many men, that the Marlies weren’t able to capitalize on. On the next shift, Ferguson won the faceoff back to Tanner MacMaster, who threw a muffin at the net that bounced off the glove of Thiessen and in.

After Two

It was a penalty-filled period for the Marlies, who took one (Jardine for holding) and drew three. Off that time with the extra man, the Marlies caught up in shots. they only trailed by one (20-21) after two periods. Standouts in that period for me were Baptiste, who’s size really helps that top line, MacMaster, who is starting to get puck luck, and Hutchinson, who does his job very well every night. Hutch is really good at remaining calm and composed for much of the game while also being able to be dynamic.

Third Period

3-1

After a lost faceoff in the defensive zone, Adam Clendening put the puck on from the point and got it through Hutchinson for the first goal of the game for Cleveland.

From there, the Marlies buckled down and started to protect the lead. At some point, Sestito took a high hit and had to go to the dressing room. A rotation of Timashov, MacMaster, and Baptiste filled in on the fourth line with Jooris and Greening.

3-2

With six minutes to go in the third, the Monsters got themselves within one. Gabriel Gagne — who is known to try and stick-handle his way in a straight line — got stripped by Ryan MacInnis. Liljegren was in front and tried to cut off the shot, but MacInnis went for the pass down low to Zac Dalpe, who scored on the short side for the Monsters.

As the clock wound down, things started getting chippy in front of Hutchinson’s net. The Monsters were starting to drive hard to the net, looking for anything, but the Marlies kept it together. With two minutes left, Timashov forced a turnover at the blueline, but Greening was unable to score on the breakaway. The play went the other way and Hutchinson was relied upon to close the game, which he did. Marlies win!


After the Whistle

  • A very happy birthday to Michael Hutchinson, who won for the Marlies on his 29th birthday. He said in his post-game interview that he’s happy to be on a firm footing with the Marlies. That consistency really helps with confidence.
  • Head coach Sheldon Keefe was very critical of his team in the first and third periods. He was especially disappointed in his team’s first period performance. They gave up way too many scoring chances and were in their own zone for much of period (keep in mind, the Marlies track a lot of different stats internally). It was only a matter of happenstance that the Marlies scored on their two best chances while the Monsters didn’t.

Highlights: