Saturday night wasn’t great for either Toronto Maple Leafs or Toronto Marlies fans. For the Leafs, it was an honest 3-2 loss at the hands of the Boston Bruins. But for the Marlies, their affair with the Rochester Americans was fraught with much more drama.
After going on the road and beating the same Americans 5-1 on Friday night, the Marlies went in front of their home fans and put up a scoreline of equal but opposite magnitude. They lost 5-1.
It was not a good night for relative newcomer Michael Carcone, who “put himself ahead of the team,” according to head coach Sheldon Keefe, with a “selfish” retaliation for a hit against the Amerks just as the Marlies were starting to mount a comeback. In a span of one minute between whistles, a chance for a precious point of two for the playoff hopeful Marlies disappeared, despite more than half a period still left to play. You can watch and read a breakdown of the incident in the recap.
Over the weekend, coach Keefe swapped Dmytro Timashov and Pierre Engvall. Engvall, who had been playing on the fourth line as a checker with Colin Greening and a myriad of right wingers, was given a chance to play with leading scorers Chris Muller and Jeremy Bracco. Initially it looked like a demotion for Timashov — who has been sent to the fourth line as punishment previously this season — but Keefe was eager to make it clear in his press scrum after the game that it was time to give his younger, talented wingers different opportunities. This was a chance for Engvall to increase his scoring touch, while Timashov was asked to drive the play more and be a better two-way player.
Pierre Engvall - Chris Mueller - Jeremy Bracco
Carl Grundstrom - Josh Jooris - Sam Gagner
Mason Marchment - Adam Brooks - Trevor Moore
Dmytro Timashov - Colin Greening - Michael Carcone
Calle Rosen - Vincent LoVerde
Stefan LeBlanc - Frank Corrado
Sam Jardine - Jordan Subban
The penalty kill was pretty good for the rest of the game, but the first goal they gave up wasn’t the best. The Marlies were doing a great job of killing time for most of Engvall’s “interference” penalty, but with a little over 13 seconds left, C.J. Smith let loose a point shot that got by Gartieg. Why did it get by Gartieg? Because both Brooks and Corrado screened him. There was no Amerks skater in sight!
CJ Smith power play goal!! Assists to Porter and Redmond. Amerks up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/W0QZRgeGY0— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
During some 4v4 action, Rosen and Engvall were slow to make a swap in positions, and Smith scored his second goal of the game on the Marlies from the backdoor. Rosen left that side of the ice in order to pressure Zach Redmond, the puck carrier. Engvall had him before the hashmarks, but was slow to make the switch with Rosen, catching him in no-mans land at the worst time.
CeeeeeeeeeeJ does it again! Amerks up 2-0. Assist to Redmond and Simpson. pic.twitter.com/H5MitX4KDw— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
Moore finally got the Marlies on the board early in the third. The goal itself was nice, I guess, if you’re into that kind of stuff, but what got me was the enjoyable (for Moore) personal battle against Scott Wilson of the Amerks. Carcone was away from the bench (possibly a skate blade or something, the penalty was later), so Keefe told Moore to take a shift with Greening and Timashov.
Right off the faceoff, Wilson slew-footed Moore to no call. Moore was not happy and every time they came together, Moore gave him a body shot with the shaft of his stick. As the play moved forward, Timashov stole a breakout pass. As he was sending it forward to Moore (who scored), Wilson ran his head into the young Ukrainian and fell holding his face. I sincerely hope Moore had as much of a laugh as I did (because no one else saw it!)
Okay so here’s what happened that got everyone in a tizzy. Four minutes after the Moore goal, Carcone went to lay a hit along the side boards on William Borgen. As Borgen braced and Carcone got a face full of elbow, going down immediately. The play stopped so Carcone could be looked at by the trainers with everyone going to their respective benches and the Marlies Ice Crew stepping on the ice to clean the snow. That’s when things got crazy.
1/2... here's the sequence that earned Carcone a 5 min cross checking major and game misconduct. He went in for a hit on Borgen and went down. pic.twitter.com/R1jberqaac— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
After a brief moment, Carcone got up and went for a skate to presumably get his bearings. But that skate took him all the way to the far side of the Amerks bench. The puck wasn’t dropping in that end, and the route to the Marlies dressing room is on the other side, so what could he possibly have wanted to... oh.
2/2... watch up top. After the whistle, ice crew out, Carcone skated over and cross checked Dougherty up high. That should earn a follow up from the league. pic.twitter.com/p6cyN6E673— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
Carcone skated over to Jack Dougherty (not the guy who elbowed him), shared a very brief conversation, and then promptly cross-checked him in the upper chest/neck/face region. A linesman noticed what might happen and tried to intervene, but he was too late to stop the two players from wrestling on the ice. The fight ended with Dougherty was on his hands and knees, bleeding all over the ice. Carcone was kicked out of the game and given a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking.
The Americans proceeded to score twice on that unending power play, essentially killing any chance of a comeback. Keefe said he liked the penalty killer’s efforts, but I think a lot of that was an attempt to put a positive spin on the Carcone situation. Just to clarify, the penalty kill did a great job, going 3/4 throughout the rest of the game, so kudos to them.
It was an empty-netter, but the utter lack of communication and awareness of who was on the ice and where between Subban and LeBlanc was dreadful. I literally slumped in my seat, embarrassed by what I saw. I was talking to Jeff Veillette after the game and he said LeBlanc had an incredible corsi night (Subban, too). What a shame. It makes it so hard to appreciate a game where they barely gave up a handful of shot attempts against because of one or two egregious errors.
An extended look at the 3rd goal of the game for CJ Smith. Love the way he just backed out of the zone knowing he had a chance, Dougherty saw him and sent the pass his way. pic.twitter.com/LHflqWWJMi— Let's Go Amerks (@LetsGoAmerks) January 12, 2019
After the Whistle
- I don’t know what was said between Carcone and Dougherty, I doubt we’ll ever know, but I really really want to know why Carcone went after him and not, say, the guy who he took the elbow from. Keefe was not happy with Carcone after the game; it didn’t take him long to express his feelings to the surrounding bloggers./
Time will tell how serious his actions will be taken. A suspension will come from the league, but what will be more interesting is what the Marlies do with him. A lot of people like Carcone, his skillset and tenacity echo the abilities of Trevor Moore, Andreas Johnsson, and Connor Brown before him, but opportunities in places have ended on smaller incidents than this.
- I’m going to write about this some more in the mid-season report cards, but Pierre Engvall has a nasty side. If you’ve seen his Instagram, you will know that he has the physique of a James Bond plus Jack Reacher (from the novels), so he can easily mess up a guy if he wants to. What’s becoming more apparent recently is that he is messing up opponents more and more often./
He elbowed Kevin Porter in the face as he was getting to the bench in the first period, and was in a couple heavy cross-checking fights along the boards and especially in front of the net in the second. He, of course, had that brawl with Michael McLeod against Binghamton barely a month ago as well. It will be interesting to see what Engvall turns into. He’s turning 23 in 2019 and is only just getting a chance to play on the top line. I have aspirations to see him in a Leafs sweater next season, so I’m really curious to see where this goes.
And for those who would like to read about this game from the other side, my new Twitter friends “Let’s Go Amerks” wrote a recap of the game as well. They’re not SBN, so don’t be nice in the comments.
CJ Smith Defeats the Toronto Marlies