The Toronto Marlies began their Royal Winter Fair road trip last night, visiting one of the biggest arenas in the American Hockey League to take on the Cleveland Monsters. Getting to this stage has been an interesting road; the Marlies started the season off sluggish, picked up form to string together a winning streak, but entered the night with a 0.500 record.
This game was a microcosm of that. The team seemed in disarray for much of the time, fell behind to the point of near-hopelessness, rallied back, but ultimately only walked away with a single point.
Carl Grundstrom – Chris Mueller – Jeremy Bracco
Dmytro Timashov – Adam Cracknell – Sam Gagner
Mason Marchment – Adam Brooks – Trevor Moore
Pierre Engvall – Josh Jooris – Colin Greening
Calle Rosen – Timothy Liljegren
Andreas Borgman – Jordan Subban
Rasmus Sandin – Vincent LoVerde
Powerplay 1: Gagner – Mueller – Grundstrom – Timashov – Liljegren
Powerplay 2: Marchment – Cracknell – Moore – Bracco – Subban
Penalty Kill Forwards: Greening, Jooris, Moore, Brooks, Cracknell, Engvall
Penalty Kill Defencemen: Rosen, Liljegren, Borgman, LoVerde
- Adam Brooks returned to the Marlies lineup today, having missed the first ten games of the season as a result of an undisclosed preseason injury. He looked in mid-season form, though, setting up Trevor Moore for a breakaway with a mid-air rainbow pass and scoring his own goal later in the game.
- Brooks centred with Moore and Mason Marchment, re-forming the line that carved the Texas Stars in targeted, offensively driven minutes during the Calder Cup Final. They looked just as they did then, taking three shot attempts for every one they conceded. Sheldon Keefe was happy with their performance. “I thought that line especially as we got going in the second and third period, that line was dominant,” Keefe said. “That was a real positive for us. That was a great sign. Obviously, we need to have more than one line if we’re going to have successes as a team but definitely, it was nice to have Adam back today.”
- Keefe was less amused the rest of the team, to the point of minimizing just about any positive acknowledgement for Cleveland’s game. “I don’t think anything that went on in the game today had to do with their team. We just weren’t ready to play in the hockey game and that’s on me as the coach and the coaching staff. We weren’t ready to play today”. Even when asked about Zac Dalpe’s hat trick and the success that the Monsters first line has had (factoring in on >50% of Cleveland’s goals this year), he knocked the team’s weak efforts in shutting them down. To be honest, it wasn’t off-base; the Marlies were caught chasing a few times, and when it happened, it was sustained for long enough for the Monsters to do their damage.
- Trevor Moore was called up to the Maple Leafs at the end of this game, which you can read more about here. I don’t think tonight’s performance was a direct influence on it, but it certainly helped, as he matched Brooks’ 1+1 effort.
- Jeff Glass appeared to be catching a groove for the past few games, but last night was not an example of that. His night ended after just 21 minutes, as five of the games first 14 shots went past him. The Marlies gave him little to no support on most of those efforts, but you’d still like a better result than what they got.
- This meant the blue and white debut of Eamon McAdam, who in the past few weeks has been the Growlers’ starter and backup, the Marlies’ backup, and the Leafs backup due to a carousel of injuries and convenient road trips. McAdam played about 44 minutes of hockey and stopped 22 of 23 shots before going 1 for 3 in the shootout.
- Rasmus Sandin had a stellar debut last weekend, but this game wasn’t so kind to him. His 41% Corsi-For was the lowest on the team and he was on the ice for a handful of threatening Cleveland plays, including this “welcome to the pros” moment:
Rasmus Sandin gets his reminder that this isn't going to be all smooth sails… Monsters score three in quick succession and it's 4-2 now. pic.twitter.com/7dSn3uEMsM
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) November 2, 2018
- Sandin did make up for the rough night in his own end by scoring the Marlies’ sixth goal in the late stages of the third period, though. Redeeming yourself with a standings point is a nice silver lining, especially when it comes via your second goal in as many career games.
- Andreas Borgman had an awful start to the season, but things have been going his way of late and last night was no exception. A pair of assists and favourable control of the ice while playing spurts with all three right-handed defenceman is a good showing in my books.
- The Marlies had a new-look fourth line last night, that looked similar to their playoff shutdown line. Pierre Engvall and Colin Greening took their prior spots on the wing while Josh Jooris filled the Frederik Gauthier role. It didn’t go as well as hoped, but I wouldn’t be shocked if this trio caught a groove.
- One thing I liked seeing towards the end of 3-on-3 overtime was the lack of fear to use three forwards in a defensive zone draw. The coaching staff must have felt that there was a potential counter-attack at play if they won the faceoff, as they sent faceoff wizard (12 for 14 on the night!) Chris Mueller with Brooks and Moore. They didn’t get an opportunity, but it did get them to the other side of the ice initially, so I’d consider that a good call.
- With the overtime loss, the Marlies pick up a point in their fifth consecutive game and remain tied for third place in the North Division with a 4-4-2 record. Their next game comes in Belleville on November 9th, as they take on the Senators at 7:00 PM in the first of back-to-back games against Ottawa’s affiliate.
Manually tracked data will only appear if you have a Faceoff Circle Subscription.---
Thanks for reading! Hopefully you enjoyed this post. If you did, don't hesitate to share it on Twitter or Facebook; having more readers will help the site grow. As well, consider a subscription if you're interested in reading additional work that isn't available to guests.