The Toronto Marlies couldn’t afford to drop another two points to a division rival after throwing away a 4-2 lead and leaving Belleville empty-handed on Friday evening.
Thanks to a perfect performance from rookie goaltender Joseph Woll and Mason Marchment remaining hot around the net, the Marlies got back on the winning track with a 4-0 victory over Rochester at the Coca Cola Coliseum on Saturday.
Toronto struck just 52 seconds into the game after Nic Petan won a battle and threaded the needle from behind the net to Mason Marchment, who fired home from the slot for his fourth goal of the weekend.
Joseph Woll was called on to make 17 saves in the period, but Toronto generated the better scoring opportunities. Marchment was denied on a one-time shot created by the work of Kenny Agostino, while the line of Wilson-Gaudet-Read wasted a 3-on-1 break with one too many passes.
Agostino was also robbed on a breakaway with six minutes remaining before Scott Pooley forced a good save out of Andrew Hammond on a nice feed by Hudson Elynuik.
Woll’s best save of the period came on Taylor Leier, who executed a beautiful move to create space but was denied on his wraparound attempt.
Toronto was unable to capitalize on a power play just three seconds into the middle frame before nearly throwing away their lead at the 2:30 mark. A pass off the mark from Tanner MacMaster put Matt Read in a bad spot, leading to a 2-on-0 for Rochester, but neither Kevin Porter or Jean-Sebastien Dea got a shot off.
With eight minutes remaining, Agostino broke clear again and was taken out by Andrew MacWilliam, earning a penalty shot ensued that Hammond turned aside to keep Rochester within one.
Toronto’s faltering power play continued to struggle and nearly conceded shorthanded, but Woll bailed out his team with a breakaway save on Rasmus Asplund.
The turning point of the game came in the final three minutes of the period when Woll got the one piece of luck he needed to keep the Americans off the scoreboard. He only got a piece of his glove on a speculative shot before the puck bounced on top of the net and spun back toward the rookie goaltender, hitting him in the back and somehow staying out of the net in the ensuing scramble.
With 39 seconds left in the middle frame, Marchment stepped up again to finish off a feed from Agostino, giving Marchment his fifth goal of the weekend and doubling Toronto’s lead heading into the final frame.
The question now was whether Toronto could hold onto a lead after the debacle in Belleville the night previous.
Andrew Oglevie brought the best out of Woll on a power play for the Amerks as Toronto’s penalty kill bent but didn’t break.
The Amerks fired at almost a shot-per-minute pace through the first 12 minutes, but they were limited to just four through the remaining of regulation as the Marlies held firm after weathering the early storm.
Empty-net goals from Read and Joseph Duszak put some gloss on the scoreline as Toronto clinched a much needed 4-0 victory.
Post Game Notes
– Joseph Woll posted a 38-save shutout for his first win since December 1, when he turned aside 40 shots against San Antonio. The rookie is 8-11-3 on the season and has two clean sheets in those eight wins.
“He came up big tonight,” said Moore. “You could just tell his body language was really calm. He was assertive. He was tracking the puck really well.”
– After a hat trick on Friday, Mason Marchment‘s pair of goals moved him up to 10 in 21 games. Nic Petan registered his 20th assist of the season in his 22nd game.
“They seemed to build some chemistry,” said Moore. “Marchment creates a lot of time and space for guys. He gets under the skin of the opponent and that opens up time and space for Kenny and Petey to make plays. It’s a good combination of skill there.”
– Adam Brooks was scratched due to injury, while Nic Petan left the game injured and didn’t return in the third period. Kevin Gravel returned after a two-month injury layoff and played big minutes for the Marlies (~25:00 TOI) on the backend.
– Saturday’s lines: