Toronto Marlies vs. Laval Rocket Game Report - March 30
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, March 30, 2019
Toronto Marlies (3) - Laval Rocket (0)
Photo Credit: @TorontoMarlies
TORONTO – Chris Mueller’s hat-trick provided all the offense for the Toronto Marlies as they downed the Laval Rocket 3-0 in AHL action Saturday night.
Toronto (37-22-7-4) dominated this game from the start and took another step towards clinching a playoff spot, moving their magic number to six to secure a playoff berth.
"We just had a lot of really good things happening today. Some nights you're really feeling it and today was one of those for us,” said Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe. "Everything was clicking in the right direction for us today. When you do that you're going to have control of the game."
Mueller’s winning goal came on a power-play, when he banged home a rebound off a point shot from Dmytro Timashov at 5:35 of the second period.
With his 30th, 31st, and 32nd goals of the season, Mueller moved into a tie for first in AHL scoring. He also set a new Marlies single-season franchise record for goals in a season.
Keefe says that Mueller’s experience has allowed him to be successful this season.
“He's got a lot of experience. He was a huge part of pushing our team over the hump last year,” said the fourth-year head coach. “He comes to the rink every day and wants to make a difference and he wants our team to be successful.”
Goaltender Connor LaCouvee kept Laval (28-30-6-6) in the game as long as he could, stopping 37 shots in a barrage from the second highest scoring team in the AHL.
Laval has now lost three games in a row and six straight against Toronto.
Saturday was the 11th annual Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation night at Coca Cola Coliseum. Families of current and past Armed Forces members filled the stands for 10th and final meeting between the teams this season.
Toronto stretched the lead to 2-0 at 12:26 of the second period when Adam Brooks sent a slick pass to Mueller, who slid it past LaCouvee for his second goal of the night.
Mueller sealed the victory with an empty net goal at 17:13 of the third period.
Toronto controlled play through the first two periods, outshooting the Rocket 30-11 through 40 minutes. Despite the number of chances, the Marlies left a lot on the table Saturday, failing to convert on several high-danger scoring opportunities.
Laval looked better in the final period but was unable to put a puck past Kasimir Kaskisuo, who made 19 stops for his fourth shutout of the season.
The Marlies thought they had opened the scoring 10 minutes into the first, but Mueller’s would-be goal was called back due to a high stick, much to the dismay of the 6, 033 fans in attendance.
It was a timid first period until Peter Engvall was hit with a shoulder to the head from Laval winger Alex Kile. A scrum broke out in the corner and players shoved each other on the ensuing faceoff.
The animosity between the teams came to a head when Andreas Borgman and Michael Pezzetta dropped the gloves with five minutes left in the first period.
The Marlies moved Brooks up to the top line to play with Mueller and AHL points leader Jeremy Bracco for Saturday's game.