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Woll Leads Toronto Marlies Past Laval Rocket

Woll Leads Toronto Marlies Past Laval Rocket

MONTRÉAL – The last time the Toronto Marlies and Laval Rocket met was an early April bout, with Laval collecting the win in both games. Trailing 25 points behind the Rocket, the Marlies were looking to break a five-game losing skid on the road.

To do so, the Marlies had to ace Michael McNiven, who has a 0.909% through the season. The answer? The Marlies turned to Joseph Woll, who has registered a 3.50 GAA and an 0.878 SVS%.

While Toronto was able to keep it close for much of the first period, Laval had the edge. Hammered with good offensive drives, Woll was able to stop mostly everything Laval threw at him, with good positioning along the way. Laval has only given up 13 first-period goals all season, and the Marlies weren’t able to break the 0-0 tie.

Deprived of possession in the first, the Marlies were the first to break the ice in the second period. Just a dollar and tax in and Rourke Chartier planted in front of McNiven. Short-handed, Jeremy McKenna took an unexpected drive. His shorty banked the Marlies’ fifth short-handed goal of the season.

At the end of the second, the shots were 38-20 for Laval, and they were skating circles around Toronto. I think it’s important to note how well Woll has been playing. He’s stopped everything in his path: quick movement, good positioning and solid play. Arguably the best I’ve seen from him in his two years with the team. 

Laval was quick on their feet, not giving an inch. The Marlies often panicked when they were pressured by the Rocket, which often leads to turnovers and other silly mistakes. Chemistry was lacking for Toronto, and going into the third, if they weren’t careful, their slim lead would quickly melt away.

“Quickly,” as in 93 seconds quick.

Xavier Ouellet’s blueline knuckler fooled Woll for the first dent in the Marlies’ armour. Lukas Vejdemo got an assist on the goal, recording his 12th point of the year.

Near the midway point of the third period, it was two quick goals. Laval struck first, followed by Toronto, which set things up for an interesting final stretch.

Yannick Veilleux was the first to score. His goal was mostly confidence after being headhunted for most of the game following an early hit on Joseph Duszak.

Just 16 seconds later, Noel Hoefenmayer cashed in from long-range. Tyler Gaudet was the one who made the play, parked in the slot, blocking McNiven’s vision. McKenna also got an assist, marking his second point of the night.

Laval’s third goal was Veilleux’s third goal on Laval’s 55th. Redirected off Veilleux’s skate, Laurent Dauphin’s drive made the hamburger a combo and Veilleux’s 11th goal of the year.

Toronto, again, wasn’t long in responding. Martin Marincin blasted a rocket from the point, but with two white jerseys and one red located in the middle, McNiven had no chance. This was seemingly Toronto’s bread and butter; the Marlies were able to block McNiven’s vision and create traffic in the net mouth for most of their goals.

An exciting overtime pushed the Marlies ahead of Laval, including a late marker from the Marlies.

Nic Petan was on a two-on-one with Antti Suomela. Petan makes the pass to Suomela, who returned the favour for a gaping net for Petan.

The star of the show was Woll, who made 57 saves to keep the Marlies in the game. Laval dominated two-thirds of overtime, and it was even to the point where Toronto had players out for over two minutes.

Laval’s strong game rewarded them with a point, but for 60 minutes, they completely outplayed Toronto. The final was 4-3 in favor of the Marlies.

The two teams will face again on May 11th in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Marlies will next face the Manitoba Moose on Thursday at 3:00 pm at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in Toronto. 

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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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