The Toronto Marlies closed out their 2018-19 regular season in unceremonious fashion, losing 5-1 to the Cleveland Monsters on a Sunday afternoon game where almost all of the regular Marlies were rested.
Eamon McAdam stopped 36 of 41 in the loss, but his performance vastly out-weighed the .878 save percentage the boxscore gave him. 21-year-old centre Hudson Elynuik scoring his first career AHL goal was he only offense the Marlies could muster in the loss as the team was only able to muster 18 shots on goal over the 60 minutes of play, including only two shots in the entire first period.
On the final early evening of the regular season, the Toronto Marlies dressed pretty much all of their spares, save for Timashov, Bracco, Gagne, and Corrado. The average games played on this roster heading into the game was 20.2.
Dmytro Timashov - Colt Conrad - Jeremy Bracco
Trey Bradley - Hudson Elynuik - Griffen Molino
Erik Brown - Ryan McGregor - Gabriel Gagne
Tom Sestito - Ryan Moore - Rich Clune
Kristians Rubins - Joseph Duszak
Jordan Subban - Frank Corrado
Alex Basso - Eemeli Rasanen
Feel free to refer to the Eamon McAdam portion of the “After the Whistle” section. The period was all him and it wasn’t close. The Marlies barely had the puck, they couldn’t get it out of their zone when they did, and the only moments where they had the puck in the offensive zone were spent along the boards and at the perimeters. I watched the first period back on 2x speed on AHL.tv and what I gained from it was that the Marlies couldn’t get through the neutral zone and the only times they did, it was when they dumped it in for a clean turnover because the forecheck was absolutely non-existent.
The only Marlies regular who made any kind of impression in the first period was Frankie Corrado, and that was because he made some good checks on the penalty kill. Jeremy Bracco was invisible on the ice, and when you saw him, he was clearly giving minimal effort. Bracco must drive coaches crazy.
There was a moment in the middle of the period where the Marlies were on the power play — Tom Sestito somehow got a tripping call to go his way — and Bracco pinched from the point to retrieve the puck without any support behind him. He was late in and just watched as the Monsters got a 2-on-1 the other way. NCAA graduate Joseph Duszak was the only defenseman back and he did a good job of challenging the shooter and allowed McAdam to step up and poke the pass away.
The only two shots from the Marlies were a point shot from Kristians Rubins, and Ryan Moore (who is #42 on the Marlies ironically) with the following rebound. It was genuinely embarrassing.
Eamon McAdam made 20 (!!!) saves in the first period against the Cleveland Monsters. The #Marlies only had 2 (!!!!). At least 3 of those McAdam stops were ten-bellers. What a performance.— Hardev Lad (@HardevLad) April 14, 2019
Twenty seconds into the second period, the Monsters got their bounce and beat McAdam for the first time in 21 tries. It was a comedy of errors as Doyle Somerby got the puck at the point and took a shot indirectly at the net. Zac Dalpe was in the high slot and beat Hudson Elynuik to the area where the puck was and tipped it across the grain back to the net.
When the shot happened, McAdam leap to his right but overplayed it as he couldn’t catch himself and go left in time to stop the shot. All the while, the front of the net was open as Jordan Subban was somehow standing on top of the Tim Hortons logo in the corner on the wrong side of his check. If he was on the inside, he may have had a chance to block the redirect with his feet or stick. Alas, we’ll never know.
Mama, there goes that man! pic.twitter.com/ql7X9iKCin— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) April 14, 2019
Off a faceoff in the offensive zone, Hudson Elynuik tipped in a point shot from Eemeli Rasanen for his first career AHL goal and point. The Newfoundland Growler regular has nine goals and 28 points in 33 ECHL games over on the coast, but this was goal number one on shot number 10 for tall the 21-year-old centre. Griffen Molino grabbed the second assist on the play.
Watch: Hudson Elynuik redirects a point shot from Eemeli Rasanen to get the #Marlies on the board. #MarliesLive pic.twitter.com/n2DtYIUkEr— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) April 14, 2019
The Monsters got it right back within the same minute when Mark Letestu was left wide open in front of the net and put home the tap-in feed from Dan DeSalvo for his 21st goal of the season. Corrado was battling along the boards but once it was time to get back to the front of the net he mentally turned off and just watched as the front of the net was left defenseless. On the other side of the net, Subban and Molino failed to communicate and both went after DeSalvo WHO WAS BEHIND THE NET! Once again, a comedy of errors.
*cha-ching!* pic.twitter.com/RGWe7PnJIP— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) April 14, 2019
The clown car of errors continued to fill up barely a few minutes later when four Marlies felt like they wanted to play offense before gliding to the bench while the Monsters had close to a 3-on-1 the other way. Rubins was the only man back, and he had the puck, but he got lost in his own feet and Somerby was able to just pick up the puck uncontested and snipe far side of McAdam.
O'DOYLE RULES pic.twitter.com/393M8rjPaw— Cleveland Monsters (@monstershockey) April 14, 2019
To play the way the Marlies did in front of a sold out crowd of 7169 at Coca-Cola Coliseum was an utter joke. They didn’t deserve to be in the same rink as the Monsters, who granted, were playing for their playoff lives for the fourth spot in the North with the Belleville Senators. In the second period, the Marlies were able to quintuple their shot count from two to 10, but the Monsters were still able to put up 13 shots of their own.
Duszak retrieved the puck behind the net, and with pressure coming at him, threw it up the middle right onto the stick of Ryan McInnis, who found Justin Scott wide open at the side of the net.
Just when I started to think I liked Rubins’ game, he drove up the boards in his own zone on a breakout before dropping the puck right onto the stick of Derek Barack. What Barack did to McAdam on the breakaway was so sickening it needed universal health care. Okay, I couldn’t video evidence, but it was a really good left-right deke before sliding the puck around McAdam’s pad.
After The Whistle
- Duszak played his second game in the AHL in this game, and his scouting report is beginning the develop some traits. First and foremost, Duszak appears to be a smart player with a good set of legs under him. He is able to move around all three zones well and his reaction time with either his stick or feet is quite sharp. Like all young defensemen, he’ll need some time to learn where to stand in the defensive zone, but there are positive signs here with this free wallet prospect. Sheldon Keefe also had some nice things to say about him after the game.
- My notes from the game on Rasanen’s side boiled down to the following sentence. “Good straight line speed, but is sometimes slow to react and looks afraid to get involved.” Now before anyone writes this prospect off, it was a bad game for a lot of players and his first game with a more competent forward core and defense group around him was much better. Still a very raw prospect, but he has a lot of the most important tools (size and skating).
- Made some good plays, but also some bad ones. I like his skating and he makes a strong first pass. Defensively, he’s very intimidating in front of the net and in the corners. He should be able to use his 6’4” frame to good use in the coming months and years. Lots of room for growth with this prospect. Overall for the game, not bad for someone having to play top-pair competition against an AHL team fighting for their playoff lives.
- Bracco didn’t seem to care about playing anything but offense in this game. He lost battles along the boards without much care and didn’t back check when he needed to. This string of play has been in Bracco’s game all season, but it was extra bad in this game on a night where he was the premiere player on the team. Really would’ve liked to see him step up and lead a little bit. Overall a disappointing effort.
- A+ first period. Was the only Marlie to show up in the period. It was a miracle the score was 0-0 after one. McAdam made some big stops, and showed strong lateral movement to make some big pad saves going left then right throughout the night. Made four really key saves throughout the first period, including on a couple of rush attempts, and sprinkled in a few in the last two periods despite the game being essentially finished.
- There was a moment on the power play when Bracco pinched and gave up a 2-on-1 the other way. With Duszak covering the shooter, McAdam poke-checked the pass and stopped the fire.
- Throughout the night, McAdam looked really competitive in his net and was hunting for pucks while staying within a safe area in front of the net. He seemed very composed considering the situation. He battled hard and kept the team in the game, which is all you could ask for and more in the situation he was put in.
Eamon McAdam had a great night, but his save percentage will still be in the low .800s. Sadly his first period performance and effort throughout the second and third to keep a lifeless corpse alive will be lost to the stat pages forever. #Marlies— Hardev Lad (@HardevLad) April 14, 2019
If you have questions about any of the other Marlies, feel free to ask about them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them with the notes I have from the regular season that was. Also, I should be doing a season review on all the Marlies, so now is the chance to tell me what you want to hear about these prospects! There were lots of interesting projects going on this year!