After trailing early in their divisional matchup against the Binghamton Devils, the Toronto Marlies scored five unanswered goals to begin a three-in-three weekend with a much-needed victory.
This was a crucial 5-1 win for the Marlies, who remain just two points shy of fourth in the North Division with three games in hand on the Utica Comets.
Coming off the back of a win against the league-leading Charlotte Checkers and facing a goaltender making his first ever AHL start, you would’ve expected a better start from the Marlies than what they produced. Their first 20 minutes lacked intensity and failed to match the Devils’ work rate, and they struggled to string more than a couple of passes together at times in a sloppy opening frame.
Offensive glimmers came mostly through Michael Carcone, whose opening shot produced a second opportunity for Adam Brooks in the slot, but Brooks was unable to get the puck past Evan Cormier.
Binghamton scored the lone goal of the period after Toronto shot themselves in the foot — Mason Marchment turned the puck over, Adam Brooks missed his assignment, and Kasimir Kaskisuo was left helpless as Egor Sharangovich redirected a shot from Josh Jacobs.
Binghamton could easily have added to their advantage before the buzzer despite registering only a handful of shots, with the Marlies guilty of some sloppy play inside their own zone.
The middle frame was largely dominated by the Marlies, although it wasn’t all plain sailing. There were early chances at both ends as Cormier denied Colin Greening after a great drive down the right side by Pierre Engvall and Kasimir Kaskisuo was forced into a diving save to prevent Nathan Bastian from putting the Devils up 2-0.
Toronto’s struggling penalty kill kept Binghamton off the board and looked as if they would have to go straight back to work if not for Nick Saracino’s off-setting penalty 12 seconds into Binghamton’s power play.
The Devils controlled the majority of play at 4-on-4, but they were unable to make hay on two fantastic scoring opportunities.
The resulting short power play for the Marlies saw Sam Jardine and Chris Mueller both robbed before the latter tipped home a shot from the former to draw Toronto level back at even strength. It was debatable whether Mueller scored with a high stick, and the home crowd certianly didn’t like the non-call, but it was just the fillip the Marlies needed.
A swift transition play started by Calle Rosen deep in his zone saw Marchment and Brooks combine to tee up Carcone high in the right circle. The winger has a tendency to overplay it at times, but on this occasion, he let it rip and beat Cormier far side.
The Marlies then scored their third goal in under six minutes when Mueller tipped home a shot from Jeremy Bracco on the power play, giving the Marlies a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame.
Predictably, Binghamton came hard at Toronto for the opening three minutes of the third period, but they put just four shots on net and Kaskisuo was pretty comfortable between the pipes.
After weathering the early storm, the Marlies weren’t put under any serious pressure until they headed back to the penalty kill with eight minutes remaining. It wasn’t pretty, but it proved effective as Kaskisuo scrambled across the crease on more than one occasion during a couple of frantic scrambles in front of him, and Vincent LoVerde also played his part by blocking a shot.
The Marlies dominated the special teams battle in this game, netting their second on the power play to pad the lead, although there was a deal of good fortune about Brooks’ intended pass finding the net via the skate of a Binghamton defenseman.
The scoring was rounded out by Carcone, who took advantage of a turnover and sniped his second of the game from a similar position to his first.
Post Games Notes
– The Marlies improved to 2-9-2 when trailing after the first period.
“We had a good first period,” said Sheldon Keefe after the game. “Both teams weren’t giving up much and we cracked first and made some mistakes that ended up in our net. We talked about just staying committed to how we want to play and re-establishing it again in the second period. I thought we were able to do that. Usually, in the second period, one team starts to take over, and I thought that was what happened for us.”
– A pair of goals for Chris Mueller gives him five in four games against the Devils this season (the Marlies lead the season series 3-2 with one game left to go). The veteran forward is now just two shy of 500 career AHL points.
– That’s four goals in as many games for Michael Carcone after netting twice in this game. He’s shining on the Marchment-Brooks line, and it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Trevor Moore is eventually reassigned.
“It was really good to see them bounce back,” said Keefe. “It was that line that cracked in the first period and made some mistakes for the goal against, but they responded very well after that. We are looking for offense from all of our lines and looking for different people to step up, and it’s good to see Carcs starting to get some confidence there and Broosky, too, gets on the scoresheet for three. A lot of positive things.”
– Three points (1-2-3) is a season high for Adam Brooks, who went six games without a point coming into the game.
– Mason Marchment and Jeremy Bracco both recorded two assists, and latter now has 25 helpers to his name and 32 points in 33 games in total.
– Kasimir Kaskisuo posted 19 saves for the victory and is now 4-5-0 on the season (.871 save percentage).