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Toronto Marlies defeat Belleville Senators in overtime on Brooks goal

It was the second Marlies game of the weekend to reach overtime, but this time the Marlies won.

Christian Bonin - TSGPhoto.com

It was the second Marlies game of the weekend to reach overtime on Sunday, but circumstances were much different than on Saturday. The Laval Rocket took the Marlies to overtime on Saturday to break a 3-3 tie. On Sunday it was against the Senators to break a 0-0 tie. There were no goals at all in regulation at all.

However, unlike Saturday, the Marlies were the team to score the OT winner, giving goalie Eamon McAdam his first AHL shutout.

Marlies Lines Sunday

After minor changes through this season related to normal rotation of an oversized roster, player injuries, and a small number of trades, there was a major shakeup of the forward lines on Sunday.

The line of Marchment - Brooks - Moore has been a fixture this season, even back to last season’s playoffs, so it was interesting to see that line blown up.

The Game

So here’s the one goal in the game: it was by Adam Brooks in OT.

And that’s the recap, folks.

OK. Maybe not.

If you didn’t watch the game, the big question is why was there only one goal in this game, in overtime, when the Marlies lead the SOG count by a staggering 36 to 10?

First, Senators goalie Marcus Hogberg made a large number of great saves. Standing 6’5, he is quite the enormous presence in net. That helped him quite a bit to extend his limbs and block shots, even though the Marlies did pepper him with some great ones.

Hogberg is not the only giant on the Senators team. In Sunday’s game they had six skaters 6’3 or taller, and only three under 6’1. The Marlies had eleven skaters under 6’1 in the game and only two over 6’3 (Engvall and Marchment).

Size is, of course, not a complete determinant in matters of skating ability, but to my untrained eye it seemed obvious the Marlies were way faster and more maneuverable than the Senators. Many of the Senators’ players were slow, lumbering, and often tripping up on their own feet. There were enough times the Senators’ players fell down on their own that David Clarkson would be embarrassed. In contrast, the Marlies own big guys like Marchment could out run them while carrying the puck and still be maneuverable enough to deke out their defenders.

The Marlies were easily able to push the Senators attacks out to the boards. A lot of the time the best the Senators could do was to skate the puck around behind the net and hope someone would be open to receive a pass when they came around the other side. It almost never worked out for them, and is also a part of their limited shot-on-goal count.

There’s not much more to it than that. There were only four penalties called in the whole game—two for each team—and all of them were killed off. Special teams were not much of a factor, unlike in Saturday’s game.

Post-Game Thoughts and Reactions

After Saturday’s OT loss to the Rocket, Chris Mueller said it was imperative to get the two points today and they did. It was critical to win this game as the Marlies are right with them in the division standings. The Marlies are far off their points % of last season, so winning these games against division rivals is a key path to get into the playoffs.

The defence certainly put their offensive feet forward in this game. Calle Rosen had five SOG and Andreas Borgman had six. Neither one got one past Hogberg, or the big skaters who frequently collapsed to the net in front of him, but Rosen in particular looks on point to the net directionally with almost all of his blocked shots.

Sheldon Keefe also commented on the status of Timothy Liljegren and noted his high-ankle sprain injury is still week-to-week status. We have more on the implications of this in the related article below.

Speaking of the 2019 World Junior Championships, they start in less than three weeks. The Marlies are likely to lose Rasmus Sandin to the event as soon as the Swedish team begin their training camp. This will be a blow to the defence on which he has been a fine contributor this season. However, it could also be an opportunity for someone from the Newfoundland Growlers to step up and get a chance to showcase their abilities.

Next Game

The Marlies have a Wednesday night game this week against the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay Lightning affiliates). After that game they head to Manitoba to play against the Moose in back-to-back games next weekend. The following home game is another Wednesday game against the Binghamton Devils.

Here’s the Game in 6 recap.