“The first thing is we need a win,” were the pre-game words of head coach Sheldon Keefe as his team looked to avoid a fourth loss in a row in the third game of a three-in-three weekend.
That the Marlies were able to finish the weekend with three of a possible six points was down to the finishing of Mason Marchment and a stellar performance from Eamon McAdam between the pipes in a 3-2 overtime win over Binghamton at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday.
In what felt like a continuation from Saturday’s third period, the Marlies dominated possession without being able to turn that into a goal in the opening ten minutes.
The returning Trevor Moore was denied by Eddie Lack, as was Colin Greening on a nice feed from Brady Ferguson. The Marlies wasted two early power play opportunities and were thankful to McAdam for denying Blake Pietila on a shorthanded attempt in alone on the goaltender.
McAdam also made a smart left pad save to keep Kurtis Gabriel at bay before the Marlies opened the scoring with 12 minutes played.
Marchment took a pass from Adam Brooks at his own blue line before making a move around John Quenneville. The winger surged through the neutral zone, split between the two Devils defensemen, and beat Lack with a low shot past his left pad.
The lead lasted just four minutes, however, as Binghamton capitalized on a power play following a too-many-men infraction by the Marlies. Nathan Bastian directed a shot by John Ramage onto the post and collected the rebound to score his fourth on the year.
The middle frame was certainly Toronto’s worst 20 minutes of this game; they were fortunate to emerge from it with the game tied through two periods of play.
They fell behind after six minutes when the Devils transitioned quickly after the puck turned over in the offensive zone. In what should have been a 2-v-2 situation, the back-tracking Calle Rosen skated into Jeremy Bracco, causing them both to fall over and leaving McAdam on his own on a 2-on-0. Marian Studenic presented Quenneville with a tap-in to put the Devils up 2-1.
Binghamton had chances to increase their lead; they wasted two power plays and were also frustrated by McAdam on another odd-man rush, where the Marlies goaltender once again stonewalled Pietila.
Toronto’s power play was hardly better than Binghamton’s, but they did make a 5-on-3 opportunity count before the end of the period. Calle Rosen ripped home a one-timer from the point to ensure the game was knotted up at two heading into the third.
The Marlies created the better scoring opportunities in the final frame, but there were few and far between throughout the 20 minutes.
Pietila’s last-ditch effort denied Chris Mueller from firing into an empty cage on Toronto’s sixth power play of the game. At the eight-minute mark, a tic-tac-toe play from the second line created a chance for Pierre Engvall, but Lack was equal to the attempt from the Swedish winger.
Binghamton mustered just six shots on McAdam in the third period — mostly because they had to kill off multiple penalties — before they almost stole the two points with two minutes remaining. McAdam was able to hang onto Nick Lappin’s backhand effort from the slot to send the game into overtime.
Thanks to an aimless pass from Jeremy Bracco, the Devils created the first clear-cut scoring chance in overtime. A 2-on-1 break resulted in a one-time shot from Ryan Schmelzer that was met by a good blocker save from McAdam.
Just over 30 seconds later, a pass from Carl Grundstrom cut through all three Binghamton skaters and onto the stick of Marchment, who had just stepped onto the ice. The big man made no mistake on the breakaway with a top-shelf finish to claim the much-needed extra point for Toronto.
Post Game Notes
– The Marlies took three of a possible six points this weekend and moved up one place to seventh in the North Division.
– The penalty kill continues to struggle, having given up at least one goal against in seven straight games.
– Reunited with Adam Brooks and Trevor Moore, Mason Marchment’s second multi-goal game of the season gives him nine points in 11 games, including five goals.
– Eamon McAdam posted 27 saves for his second victory in three starts. His statistics overall far from tell the whole story this season. Sheldon Keefe has been impressed by his progress.
“He’s worked extremely hard, he’s made a lot of progress,” said Keefe. “We’ve seen a lot of improvement in his game — in practice, first of all, which has given us the confidence to put him in net. He’s done a good job with a number of good saves at key times for us.”
– Calle Rosen recorded his fourth multi-point haul of the season with a goal and an assist.
That’s 15 points in 16 games for the defenseman, who has only been kept off the score sheet on five occasions so far.
– Sam Gagner was recalled by Vancouver before Sunday’s game. His 15 points in as many games hugely contributed to Toronto’s cause, as did his total professionalism in what was a tough situation for him coming out of camp.
“He handled himself tremendously while he was here,” said Keefe. “He was a great teammate and a great leader. He came down here to work at his game and get better, and we treated him like he was any other player in the organization and gave him opportunities to stay sharp. I’m looking forward to him getting up there and watching him do well.”
– Adam Cracknell has been absent since injured against Laval on October 13. He will be out for 2-4 weeks, according to Sheldon Keefe.
– Keefe had another glowing review of Rasmus Sandin‘s game on Sunday: “He’s getting more comfortable. He’s a good player. He’s very confident. He’s showing the ability to contribute in lots of different areas for us. Every game that he plays, he seems to get another level of comfort and we, in turn, get a little extra confidence to put him out in different situations. Very, very positive, how he’s progressed.”
– Sunday’s lines: