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Weary Defense Push Marlies Past Moose

Weary Defense Push Marlies Past Moose

WINNIPEG, MB – Last night’s game against the Manitoba Moose and Toronto Marlies was a game that can be defined from the first and second periods. It was a defensive mess for Toronto in the first period. Meanwhile, Manitoba failed to contain the bleed in the second, providing Toronto with four straight markers. Manitoba was unable to create opportunities and lost momentum after 20 minutes.

For the second game of their set, the Moose started with goaltender Mikhail Berdin. Last night, Berdin was at the helm, steering a 0.914 SVS%, allowing three goals on 27 shots. Andrew D’Agostini was his opposite, following his first AHL win Monday night for the Marlies.

Less than five minutes into the first period, C.J. Suess took a wrister on D’Agostini, which took the Torontonian out of position. Driving the doorstep, Kristian Reichel found himself with six feet of net and an out-of-position D’Agostini to score his first of the year. It was the first of many signs that Toronto’s defense was a country mile away from where it should have been in the opening stanza.

But, the Marlies were quick to respond. Winnipegger Adam Brooks was controlling the play near the side-boards. With Calle Rosen near the point looking for a shot, Brooks handed it off to Rosen, who blasted a laser past Berdin to tie the game. Timothy Liljegren also got an assist on the goal, and here’s what he had to say post-game:

“I think we’ve been on the same team for so long now, so we kinda know each other pretty well on the ice,” explained Liljegren, “We’re Swedes, so we can talk. We can talk easily on the bench, and that all helps.”

On a delayed call and Dylan Samberg falling to the ice, Samberg made a magnificent pass to Tyler Graovac near the high point. With great vision, Graovac spotted Nathan Todd alone near the side of the goal to tap in the tiebreaker. It was Manitoba’s second goal on just six shots.

The first period wasn’t D’Agostini’s fault. Simply put, Toronto’s defense failed the AHL rookie. Manitoba didn’t capitalize on every opportunity, to be fair. One thing was for certain in the intermission; if something wasn’t said, the Moose had a chance to run away with the game – which they lost in the first seven minutes of the middle period.

The lousy defense was not all Marlies. The Moose weren’t without their faults. With a low shot from Joey Anderson, Kenny Agostino shoveled the puck past Berdin from the paint. The goal was the first sign of life and control from Toronto, and they had Manitoba chasing the game.

There are some players you don’t give time and space to. Nick Robertson is one of them. Parked in front with the meter running, Robertson created time and space, clearing himself from three Moose for a quick wrister in the slot to take the 3-2 lead. Rourke Chartier banked in his second assist of the season.

“With Nick, it’s no surprise. He’s played in the NHL, he’s scored in the NHL, so I think it’s going to come. In saying that, he’s only 19 years old, and when I was 19, I think I only got one game at the end of the year,” said Chartier. “It’s still a different league, it’s still an adjustment, but you can see in the first two games how good of a player he is.”

Toronto’s offensive push was unmatched like any other, fueled by the momentum of two quick goals. Moments later, Rosen took a hammer point blast from the blueline that smacked the end boards. The puck flew off Berdin’s back and found its way into the net. The goal marked three goals on five shots to start the middle frame.

With only 64 seconds before the third, the Marlies would add in their fourth goal of the period. Kristians Rubins scored on the slot shot with help from Robertson. Rubins scored two goals and three assists through 47 games last season.

The Homestretch

Monday night’s power-play record penciled an 0/3 account for the Marlies. On the Marlies’ first power play of the game in the third period, Toronto changed the stat. Liljegren took the initial shot from the circles, shooting low for a rebound. Brooks found that rebound and easily feathered the puck into the wide-open cage. From that point onwards, it spelled the end of the Moose, who looked notably deflated. It would spell the last goal of the eight-goal night as the Marlies took the game 6-2.

Both teams will play again tomorrow in Winnipeg, Manitoba, part of their four-game set. The game will be live on AHL TV, with updates on Twitter @SinBinMarlies.

Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2022 season!

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

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