Home cooking helps Marlies snap losing skid

Harley Kock
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Final Score, Toronto Marlies 5 - Rochester Americans 2

Toronto, ON - Marlies had lost 7 of the last 10 games, including three in a row where they only scored a combined 4 goals. "You cant let it leak into our future games, we wanted to get back to what this teams has done alot this year," was Head Coach Greg Moore's message to his players pregame and it seemed to work. Tanner MacMaster’s 100th career AHL game he a minus one with two shots but his team picked him up. The Toronto Marlies pulled away from the Rochester Americans for a 5-2 victory. The Americans were 6-4 in their past 10 and still hold first in the North division. Kasimir Kaskisuo the AHL All-Star got the start in net and made 30 saves. Rochester countered with Andrew Hammond who is having a stellar season of his own but had a rough game allowing 5 goals on 27 shots.

It was a tough start as the Americans got out on an early two on one and Sean Malone went cross-crease to John Gilmour. Kaskisuo made a big sliding glove save. Several icing calls on both teams as they clearly were trying a chip and chase style of hockey.

Rochester did a good job of cycling using the boards but Toronto was keeping them to the outside. Through 6 minutes just one shot on net for the Marlies and two for the Americans.

Rochester were doing a great job using their speed for odd-man rushes. Again they had numbers with a 3 on 2. Gilmour dropped it to Remi Elie at the left hashmark who got a nice rip on Kaskisuo. He showed off his glove once again keeping the game scoreless.

Rochester’s game plan for dealing with Toronto’s breakout was to not pinch to deep. Keeping their first forward just inside the blueline to take away the centre ice pass. The other forwards covered the boards forcing tough passes from Toronto’s blueline.

Gloves were dropped in a surprising fight between Rich Clune and Andrew MacWilliam with 8:44 left in the first period. Not many punches but a good take down by Clune sent them to the box.

The Marlies turnaround started from Hudson Elynuik. Coming in on a partial break he put a slap shot off the bar.

Then less than a minute later the tie was broken. Jeremy Bracco found Kalle Kossila in the slot. He picked the top right corner on Hammond for the opening goal.

Toronto kept pressing.

Egor Korshkov made a great forehand to backhand move but Hammond held tough with his left pad. In their third meeting of the season things were getting feisty. Offsetting penalties were given to William Borgen and Egor Korshkov for some pushing and shoving in the Rochester zone.

That ment 4 on 4 and Toronto made the most of the extra space. Pontus Aberg skated right by the Americans into the slot and made a heads-up play with a nice pass to Kenny Agostino. He was camped in the lower right circle and one-timed it clean into the net. Agostino’s team leading 18th of the year and 100th career AHL goal made it 2-0 Marlies.

Another fight.

Tyler Gaudet dropped to gloves with Tyler Randell and took a few more than he gave as the two stood and traded blows. "I thought it gave our team energy and life," said Moore of the two fights.

Casey Mittelstadt decided to get his team back in the game himself. A nice move getting a clean shot on Kaskisuo from the high right circle. Bad rebound control as it went right back to him cutting in and he easily tapped the puck in to make it 2-1.

A wild first ended with the Marlies leading in shots 13-10.

Kakisuo was called on in the start of the second. He made several big saves and was under a lot of pressure with multiple in-zone turnovers by Toronto. It took 5 minutes for the Marlies to get any sustained pressure.

Then Rochester almost gave one away. CJ Smith overskated at the Marlies blue-line. He was pressured and turned it over giving Kenny Agostino a breakaway. Agostino came in but was stopped by Hammond’s blocker.

Then is was tied up. Kevin Porter won the offensive zone draw back to Lawrence Pilut at the boards. He calmly coasted in and picked the corner on Kaskisuo who tried to make the glove save across his body but failed.

Almost immediately after the Marlies had a chance to regain the lead thanks to trip by Porter. It took until 24 seconds remaining in the infraction for them to even get set-up. They got no good scoring chances towards the net.

Rochester controlled most the period as it ended 2-2 with them now leading the shots 24-18.

Toronto was back to their possession game to start the third. Rochester was doing well defensively keeping them to the outside. Both teams looked fearful of making any risky plays. Then it was the Kaskisuo show once again. He was struggling with his rebound control for most of the game. Another one right out-front went to Jean-Sebastian Dea but a fantastic glove kept it a tie game.

Clune had a great chance to break the tie. He was out a breakaway but the pass off the boards was just in front of him. By the time he settled the puck he could only muster a weak backhand. Hammond stopped it easily with his pad.

Following that Kossila broke the tie. He went wide right and cut back in on Hammond going top shelf. Kossila took Hammond and the net out in the process after the puck went in. "They didn't have very good gap so I just tried to take it to the net and it worked out," said Kossila of his second goal of the game.

Then a wicked tip. Teemu Kivihalme came into the zone and threw what looked like a weak shot on net. Pontus Aberg was there and tipped it right under Hammond’s blocker. A tough one to stop as he was also screened. "He's a good player its fun to play with him," Kivihalme said of playing with his linemate Aberg.

A crowd of nearly 7000 was treated to another one. Egor Korshkov was gifted a loose puck in the slot and made no mistake. He went far-side top right corner beating Hammond's glove and securing a 5-2 lead with just over 5 minutes remaining in the game.

The rest of the contest was just keep-away for the Toronto Marlies as they closed out their 5-2 victory over the Rochester Americans. "We've been killing alot of penalty's lately, some calls could go one way or another but some were stupid decisions and it was nice to see our discipline tonight," Moore said after his team gave up no powerplay opportunities.

Next up, tomorrow at home in Coca Cola Colosseum versus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms who are last in the Atlantic Division.