The Toronto Marlies got a big win Saturday during a busy weekend of three games. Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Rochester Americans (Buffalo Sabres affiliates) was a boost in the division standings and improved the mood of the team after their frustrating 7-4 loss to the Belleville Senators on Friday night.
Marlies Lines Saturday
Kenny Agostino - Nic Petan - Mason Marchment
Yegor Korshkov - Tanner MacMaster - Pontus Aberg
Garrett Wilson - Tyler Gaudet - Matt Read
Giorgio Estephan - Hudson Elynuik - Scott Pooley
Teemu Kivihalme - Mac Hollowell
Kevin Gravel - Jospeh Duszak
Kristians Rubins - Jordan Schmaltz
Kevin Gravel was back in the lineup this weekend after a long absence for an injury. Adam Brooks is out, but it was indicated to be only a short term issue. Jeremy Bracco remains out for personal reasons.
As for the Amerks, Andrew MacWilliam is there, still glad to be working, and now he’s with Casey Mittelstadt. Mittlestadt has seven goals in 22 games played with the Amerks this season; Mason Marchment now has ten goals in 21 games with the Marlies. I’m just sayin’.
Also, ex-Marlies coach Gord Dineen is the assistant coach for the Amerks. I am bringing this up only to point out him looking comically glum in the background of the header photo standing at the Amerks bench.
The Amerks started Andrew Hammond in net. Yes, that’s where the famous “Hamburgler” is these days. His AHL SV% this season is 0.904, a little below 0.941 he had in the NHL for the famous 2014-15 Ottawa Senators season.
Do you like the Marlies winning? I do too! And that’s what they did. All game long. The only player to get a puck past a goalie on either team in this game was Mason Marchment, and he got the first one in the net less than one minute into the game.
The rest of the first period was relatively quiet. One thing rather annoying happened with about 7:00 minutes left and the fourth line out. The forwards, Gaudet, Estephan, and Wilson, wound up with a three-on-one rush into the Amerks zone, but botched the play by only passing the puck between each other until it was too late to just take the shot. It’s sort of the opposite of what you expect from your fourth line; you would think they shoot first, not try and over-complicate things by setting up a fancy multi-pass shot as they skate towards the net. One of them probably could have scored there.
Marchment also had another scoring opportunity at the very end of the period. You could see already he was thirsty for another goal in the game.
The second period opened with Dalton Smith getting a double minor for tackling Marchment off the face-off. I’m not sure what that one specifically was about, but there had started to be a lot of jawing going on by that point, and the big hits started coming quickly after that. Smith got four minutes for his troubles because Marchment didn’t even had time to react before the tackle. Unfortunately the Marlies couldn’t convert on that power play.
Joseph Woll had a few scares and lucky breaks in this period. One of them was toward the period when the puck takes an odd bounce off the top of the net behind him, but he did good work to keep it out, and his teammates noticed.
The Marlies finally did get a power play goal in the game, and it was Mason Marchment who got the credit again.
Nic Petan left in the second period and did not return for the third. I completely missed what happened, but was told post-game it wasn’t expected to be serious. More information may be available after Sunday’s game.
The Amerks were clearly energized coming out for the third period, and that slowly turned into desperation as the game went into windup. They pulled their goalie quite early to catch up but the Marlies scored on the empty net twice to end the game up 4-0.
Post-game thoughts and comments
Marchment had a hat trick on Friday and then was going for another late in the game when the Amerks had their goalie pulled. He was grateful for his teammates trying to help him set it up. “Kenny definitely held up and tried to find me, which was a hell of a play,” he said about his linemate Agostino. “He could have just had an easy goal there. It was really nice to see the team camaraderie there.”
Coach Greg Moore was also complimentary of Marchment’s effort so far in the weekend. “Marchment builds a lot of time and space for guys,” said Moore. “He gets under the skin of the opponent,” whcih we saw in this game several times.
Woll is always so bubbly and happy after a win. He just really loves playing and he’s good with the fans. He gave his shutout stick to a wee little child in Marlies gear at the end of the game. The top praise for his performance came from Greg Moore. “His body language was really calm, he was assertive, he was tracking the puck really well. It was a solid game for him,” he said.
This would be an example game for executing their strategy in a consistent way which they haven’t been doing of late. Well, except for that pesky power play. There’s still work to be done there.
But a win is a win.
The Marlies play the Laval Rocket Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
Here’s the game highlights video.