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Space Oddity: Marlies Float by Rocket

#AHL | Ground Control to Major Tom- there sure were some oddities in Saturday’s @TorontoMarlies and @RocketLaval tilt. Join @FPHMarlites for his recap.

Space Oddity: Marlies Float by Rocket

LAVAL, Q.C – Space Oddity, a hit from musician David Bowie describes Major Tom blasting off into space before getting lost and losing ground control. The song could have very well been written about the game before us on Saturday afternoon, where the Toronto Marlies lifted off over the Laval Rocket in a shootout, 4-3.

The Marlies came into the game, winning nine of their last 10, with a perfect seven straight. Meanwhile, the Rocket, fresh from a win against Hershey, is  3-0-0 in the past three, with a 10-5-5 home record.

Today’s Oddity? The Rocket.

A team seemingly on jet fuel with their recent wins coming against some top teams, especially given who they played on the ice. Now, they had to try to shake the tree of the Baby Buds.

The game’s first goal went to Laval on their second power-play opportunity, with a wide-open net thanks to the pass from Lucas Condotta to Xavier Simoneau for the 1-0 lead.

The bottom five of the opening period saw Marshall Rifai cashing in. Noticing he had Alex Steeves, the pass didn’t come to the other side, and goaltender Kevin Poulin looked unready for the shot, which beat the keeper short-side.

To end the period, the Marlies cashed one in from Nick Abruzzese. The 19:58 goal was his 12th of the year, thanks to retrieving the puck out of a pile and throwing it in the net.

With the end of 20 down, I had to think it was a technically sound period by both teams. Both went into the second period one for two on the power play, and I believe one was a makeup call for another. 

An errand pass helped the Rocket tie the game near the midway point of the second period. Anthony Beauregard received the drop pass and wasted no time in burying his first American Hockey League goal. A lack of time, space, and defenders left Erik Källgren looking almost stunned when the puck went past him. By now, it’s 2-2

It’d be hard not to gaze at the shooting stars on Saturday, where like comets, one by one, 11 skaters combined skated their way to the penalty box. Seemingly most of the second period was played with special teams on the ice, with seven minor penalties dished out. When you look at five-on-five, it was controlled by the Marlies, despite the Rocket being the only goal scorer.

No doubt, I don’t put full blame on the players for the number of penalties, but into the third, both had got to skate. Their sticks are made of glass because they’re on thin ice.

The Marlies would be the first to capitalize on a power play (two for eight on the afternoon) with a quick shot from Abruzzese near the circle. The pass came to the circles, where he wasted no time in delivering the shot with the one defender in front of the net.

A late-game power play queued up the game-tying goal. The pass from William Trudeau to Anthony Richard delivered a stunning shot on the Marlies goaltender. It was the 13th penalty of the game at that point. 

A breathtaking save by Källgren and a reviewed no-goal outlined overtime in what turned out to be an intense extra session. It solved nothing, as the game went to a shootout before it took four rounds to end things.

Logan Shaw ended up being the hero for the Marlies in a game that marked a franchise-record consecutive road wins for the club.

The Rocket put up a very good fight in a duel that showcased each team’s power-play unit.

Sometimes, when you have the most space is in the shootout, and for the Rocket, a team that is made primarily of ECHL call-ups:

This is ground control to Major Trois (Rivières).

You’ve really made the grade.

But, if the song is any indication, the space cadet never did win the battle in the end, and neither did the Rocket.

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    Zack Power covers the Toronto Marlies for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHMarlies.

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