TORONTO – The Toronto Marlies and Laval Rocket are essentially neck-in-neck thus far in 2019-20. Coming into Sunday’s matchup, Laval was in playoff position with 53 points. Just behind them on the outside looking in was Toronto with a 51 points. A win for the Marlies would push them into a playoff spot, knocking out Laval.
Just like the last game, the Marlies found a way to beat netminder Keith Kinkaid. Only 49 seconds in, Teemu Kivihalme made an initial point hammer shot, but uncovered on the doorstep was Mason Marchment. It marks the second consecutive game that Marchment scored in the opening minute.
Almost five minutes later, Egor Korshkov found the insurance-goal lead. Receiving the long-range pass from Joseph Duszak, Korshkov had a clear cut breakaway and made an excellent move to get Kinkaid on his stomach and open wide the 4′ x 6′ of white string.
Kristians Rubins would continue the offensive assault on Kinkaid, scoring the Marlies’ third goal in seven shots. From north of the circles, the wrister was quick to fool the Rocket’s goaltender and leave him almost frozen in the crease. The shot wasn’t anything special, but Kinkaid lost the puck for a fraction of a second, enough to have it whiz by him.
Cale Fleury scored his first AHL goal of the season a short time later. His deke gave Scott Pooley broken ankles and a broken heart, as Fleury ran the puck through his leg for a quick wrister to beat Kasimir Kaskisuo.
With the first period down, I wasn’t impressed with what Laval had to offer. With Montreal sending down almost every player under the sun, I was anticipating something special. Laval floated into the offensive zone and also floated most of their shots on Kaskisuo. If teh Rocket applied their skill on the ice, it could have made the second period competitive.
In turn, the second solved nothing. Both teams kept things quiet, only registering a combined eight shots. It wouldn’t be until the third until things picked back up.
Matt Read found himself a short-handed marker to start the third. Michael Kapla made the pass to Read, who made Josh Brock look silly as he deked through him to deliver a saucy backhand towards Kinkaid to get his seventh of the season.
In the late stages of the third, Pooley gave the puck up to Matthew Peca, only to snipe it past Kaskisuo. Peca’s fourth of the season was enough to put the Rocket within reach, and shortly after, Kinkaid returned to the bench for a 6-on-5 operation.
Pontus Aberg would add an empty-netter to lock the game down at 5-2.
The Marlies captured four of a possible six points against teams that were all ahead of them. Sunday’s win puts them into a playoff position and restored their confidence completely. Both Saturday and Sunday saw a Marlies team that had the same spirit that we saw in November and December. The win also marks the first back to back victories under Head Coach Greg Moore.
coach moore: “We’ve done a lot of good in the past four or five weeks. We’re building things in the right direction, So we just have to stay confident and keep doing the little things.”
The Marlies play again on Friday, where there will be no love in the air against the Senators. The game will be in Belleville starting at 7:00pm EST and will air live on AHL TV.
I want to leave you with a personal note. It being Military Appreciation Night, I just wanted to take a moment to say, thank you! My brother-in-law is currently enrolled with the Canadian Regiment and has done tours through parts of Europe. On a Sin Bin level, we have writers who are currently enrolled in the Army, as well. You people are the backbone of this country. It takes courage to be who you are, and you deserve my utmost respect. I want to thank anyone who is reading this serving today and who has previously served.
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