The Toronto Marlies broke their three-game losing streak on home ice with a complete performance that was only shy of a goal in regulation time.
The combination of great goaltending from Belleville goaltender Marcus Hogberg and an utter lack of puck luck in front of goal denied the Marlies the victory they deserved through 60 minutes of play before they found a way to break through in overtime.
“As complete of a game as we’ve played, except for getting the puck to go over the line,” said Sheldon Keefe.
Facing a Belleville team playing their third game of the weekend, the Marlies imposed themselves on the Senators from the eleven-minute mark onwards.
Carl Grundstrom was robbed by Hogberg in tight before the Belleville netminder went on to deny Mason Marchment and Calle Rosen shortly thereafter.
A power play for Toronto saw Jeremy Bracco and Trevor Moore turned aside after Sam Gagner rattled the iron.
The Senators tested Eamon McAdam just once in the opening frame — the Marlies goaltender needed to be alert to turn aside Daniel Ciampini with 2:30 remaining.
With the long change in the middle frame, the Marlies pinned Belleville in their own zone for long stretches without ever creating a succession of high-quality scoring chances.
Michael Carcone was unable to bury a chance in close following good work from Colin Greening, while Bracco chose to pass when shooting was the better idea on an odd-man rush.
Belleville almost stole the lead when Francois Beauchemin split the Marlies defense with a burst of speed, but McAdam turned the left winger’s shot aside.
The Senators then earned a power play when Stuart Percy was hooked on a partial breakaway, which later turned into a two-man advantage for 52 seconds after Adam Brooks followed Frank Corrado into the box.
The Marlies did not give up a recorded shot on goal on the kill thanks to excellent work from Vincent LoVerde, Josh Jooris, and Greening.
The Marlies weren’t able to capitalize on a power play to finish the period, and despite out-shooting the Senators 28-7, the game remained scoreless through 40 minutes.
The third period wasn’t Toronto’s best, but they still had chances to grab a regulation victory.
Greening somehow stuck the post with the whole cage to aim at following a rebound in the crease. Borgman was the next to let an opportunity slip by as he whiffed on a saucer pass from Sam Gagner with half an empty net open.
The frustration for Marlies continued at the midway point; for the umpteenth time, the puck failed to cross the goal line during a scramble in the crease with Hogberg laying prone across the blue paint.
With seven minutes remaining, it was almost heartbreak for the Marlies after Jack Rodewald blocked a shot from Calle Rosen and escaped on a breakaway. McAdam stood tall to deny the former Marlie from stealing the two points, and the game meandered toward the inevitable overtime period from there.
The extra point was certainly more vital to Toronto than Belleville, and with the first shot in overtime, the Marlies secured the win. Grundstrom’s drop pass found Brooks in the right circle, where the centerman beat Hogberg with a well-placed wrist shot inside the goaltender’s far post.
Post Game Notes
– The Marlies improved to 2-1-1 in their season series with Belleville.
– This was the tenth time the Marlies have had a game decided after regulation this season. They are 5-5 in those games (three OT losses and two in the shootout).
– Eamon McAdam earned his first AHL career shutout by posting just 10 saves. There were three key stops to ensure the victory, however, and he deserves credit for keeping his focus in a highly one-sided game.
“He brought the big save when we needed it,” said Keefe. “After not getting much activity for a long period of time, he came up with big saves there.”
– Adam Brooks broke a four-game scoreless streak with the game winner.
– Sheldon Keefe says defenseman Timothy Liljegren is out week-to-week with a high ankle sprain.
– Dmytro Timashov was a healthy scratch for a second straight game.
– Defenseman Sam Jardine replaced Jordan Subban, who took the costly penalty in overtime in the loss to Laval on Saturday, on a pairing with Andreas Borgman.
“Jardine came in today and took advantage of his opportunity and did a great job for us,” said Keefe.
– Sunday’s lines: