Greg Moore talked about a better effort in the media availability following the Toronto Marlies’ second straight home defeat.
His body language and glazed eyes told a different story. Moore was rocking from side to side as he initially answered questions posed by Todd Crocker regarding his team’s performance. Moore had every right to be furious with another feeble effort from his group, punctuated with periods of offensive play that kept the scoreline relatively close until the final frame.
Toronto began brightly and on the front foot offensively. Joey Anderson forced a good shoulder save out of Aaron Dell as the Marlies kept Rochester pinned in their zone.
The Marlies have largely been a mess defensively in the Greg Moore era, and the manner in which the Amerks scored on their first foray of the game perfectly encapsulated it. Rochester was handed a 3-on-2 break and made it count, as Jack Quinn finished on a feed from JJ Peterka and Toronto was trailing inside 90 seconds.
Anderson came close to tying the game at the three-minute mark, but a pair of chances went begging before — not for the first time — the Marlies were the architects of their own demise. Erik Källgren’s brain fart coming out to play the puck gifted Brendan Warren the simplest goal of his professional career to put the Amerks up 2-0 in just three and a half minutes.
Toronto continued to create chances at the other end. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev came close before the Marlies got themselves on the board with 5:28 played. Joey Anderson was the creator, teeing up Brett Seney for his third of the season.
It took Rochester a little while to restore their two-goal lead. Rochester dumped the puck into the offensive zone, a broken play ensued, and the outnumbered Amerks outworked Toronto to recover possession. The play resulted in Ryan MacInnis wiring a shot over the shoulder of Källgren.
A fourth goal arrived at the 14-minute mark of the period for Rochester, and it was the worst of the bunch to concede. After a turnover by Mikhail Abramov, the Marlies were second best in every puck race before JJ Peterka picked out Quinn all alone in front, with three Toronto players watching him score.
It signaled the end of the game for Källgren as Andrew D’Agostini entered the game in relief.
Seney scored his second goal of the period on a pass from Jack Kopacka, but it was simply a covering of the cracks. The Marlies trailed 4-2 at the first intermission, a scoreline that frankly flattered them.
Perhaps you could excuse Rochester for taking their foot off the gas slightly in the middle frame. They were met with little resistance in the opening 20 minutes and had played the night before.
Certainly, the Marlies created some opportunities, but they just weren’t clinical enough. Kirill Semyonov forced Dell into a spectacular glove save with one effort before tipping a pass just wide of the open net.
Jeremy McKenna, recalled from Newfoundland following the unfortunate injury to Nick Robertson, performed admirably when called upon in his game, bringing physicality and a direct game.
The Marlies remarkably pulled withing one inside the final five minutes of the period when
Semyonov finally found his scoring touch in front of the net, redirecting a shot from debutant Matthew Hellickson.
It proved a short-lived attempt at a comeback as Rochester again restored their two-goal advantage with 1:41 remaining. It was like taking candy from a baby as Mark Jankowski skated freely through all three zones before getting hauled down at the top of the right circle. The puck fell to Linus Weissbach, who wired a fantastic shot up and over D’Agostini.
The game wasn’t in doubt from the moment Rochester scored their fifth goal.
Jankowski hit the crossbar three minutes into the final frame, but he kept on coming, repeating the trick of skating past every Toronto player down the right wing, and Michael Mersch was left with a tap-in.
Linus Weissbach rounded off the scoring with his second of the game, a hard low shot that D’Agostini should have handled better.
Post Game Notes
– With 12 goals conceded in the last two games, the Marlies have been a mess without the puck, which is a big part of the story of the Greg Moore era to date. Speaking of which, this was the 80th game of his tenure. Results are not everything and development is king in the American league, but 43 losses with him in charge is unacceptable. The Marlies would not have made the playoffs during his first year, were regularly shelled in his second campaign, and they have been embarrassed twice in the span of three games this season.
The Toronto organization places a great deal of value on their prospects playing post-season hockey. If there wasn’t mounting pressure on Greg Moore before, there should be now.
– Life doesn’t get any easier as Cleveland visits today and a trip to Laval follows in the middle of the week. Both teams have scored plenty this year and could feast on Toronto’s defensive deficiencies.
– A positive note to end this recap? I’ll try.
Brett Seney has been a bright spot offensively, switching back to the wing and scoring another pair of goals to give him four in three games.
His linemates Kirill Semyonov and Joey Anderson also played well. Semyonov scored his first AHL goal, and I have enjoyed watching Anderson begin to find his game offensively. Consistency is the challenge for the 23-year-old winger.
– Saturday’s lines:
Seney – Semyonov – Anderson
Michaelis – Abramov – Ho-Sang
Kopacka – SDA – McKenna
Rubins – Král
Dahlström – Duszak
Hellickson – Biega