Brooks Leads the Way in 4-2 Grudge Match Win Over Springfield

Toronto (4) Springfield (2) Final

By: Gordon Brown

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Photo credit: @TorontoMarlies

TORONTO — The Toronto Marlies took down the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-2 in American Hockey League action on Saturday. Animosity brewed throughout the game and it was only fitting on Star Wars night, reminiscent of Duel of the Fates in Episode I of the saga.  

Adam Brooks led the way for Toronto (25-16-4-3) with the game-winning goal and an assist. Similarly, Chris Mueller posted a goal and an assist as well to propel his season total to 49 points.

Springfield (21-20-6-4) put forth a valiant effort despite the loss. Sam Montembeault turned away 24/27 shots and was a major factor in keeping the game within reach, considering the Marlies were only successful on 1/5 power play opportunties.

The arena attendance totalled 7035 and was a driving force behind Toronto's momentum.

As the action began, Trevor Moore had an opportunity to give the Marlies an early 1-0 lead off the opening rush but was rejected by the crossbar behind Montembeault.

The Thunderbirds abruptly silenced Toronto’s home crowd moments later and broke the ice at 1:39, courtesy of Jonathan Ang’s fourth goal of the season. Michael Hutchinson presumably had the puck smothered but allowed Ang to pry it loose and shovel it over the goal line.

Toronto found life in the dying minutes of the first period and rejuvenated their supporters inside of Coca-Cola Coliseum. Gabriel Gagne notched his first goal as a member of the Marlies since being acquired from Belleville last month in exchange for Morgan Klimchuk. The former second-round pick now has five goals on the season.

Calle Rosen coughed up a giveaway in the neutral zone and afforded Springfield an opportunity to re-take the lead. Luckily for Toronto, Hutchinson held his ground and maintained the 1-1 tie as the clock ticked down to zero.

Although time had expired in the first, the action did not cease. Bad blood was brewing throughout and finally reached its tipping point. Either side engaged in extracurriculars that resulted in offsetting roughing penalties to Mueller and Bobby Farnham.

A collective three-goal second period saw the Marlies take their first lead of the night after either team exchanged daggers to begin the frame. Tensions ran high.

Springfield jumped ahead 2-1 on the back of Thomas Schemitsch’s sixth goal of the season, only for Mueller to secure Toronto’s 2-2 equalizer just 3:36 later. Mueller’s 23rd goal positioned himself two behind AHL league-leader Joel L’Esperance and his 25 tallies.  

As time wound down, bad blood continued to boil between the opposing sides. Vincent LoVerde and Paul Thompson engaged in the game’s first official fight, however, the Thunderbirds walked away with a 2:00 man-advantage as a result of LoVerde’s game misconduct for instigating.

The Marlies used the extra penalty to their advantage and managed to produce a shorthanded goal. Adam Brooks tallied his 10th of the season to give his team a 3-2 lead at 15:47, which they carried into the third period. 

A tight-knit affair was broken open late in the third period after Pierre Engvall sealed the deal with an empty-net tally, his 12th goal of the season. Additionally, Mueller added an assist and moved into sole possession of third for overall points with 49.

Toronto is back in action on Sunday at 4 p.m. to take on the Belleville Senators in a North Division matchup.

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