Carcone's Game-Misconduct Turns the Tide in Favour of Rochester
Rochester (5) Toronto (1) Final
Saturday, January 12, 2019
TORONTO — Coming off of a convincing 5-1 victory over the North Division leaders one night prior, the Toronto Marlies returned home on Saturday to take on Rochester for a second day in-a-row. The double feature home-and-home would prove to be a measuring stick for Toronto, as they continue to chase down the Americans for the top spot in the North Division. Unfortunately, for Toronto, they would end up on the wrong end of the stick this time around.
The Marlies entered the evening just three points back of Rochester, despite what has been, at times, an abysmal up-and-down season. Although Toronto has played one more game than their opponent has, there’s little reason to question Toronto’s ability to take a run at the division lead at this point in time. Goaltending and offensive capabilities have continued to solidify themselves and may just be the turning point for a team with an upward trajectory moving forward, regardless of tonight's outcome.
Not to mention, the team expects to have both Michael Hutchinson and Kasimir Kaskisuo back in the AHL as soon as the Toronto Maple Leafs’ goaltending situation is back to full-strength. Both Frederik Andersen and Garret Sparks remain sidelined with illness and injury, respectively.
As the action got underway, it was Calle Rosen who nearly ignited the raucous home crowd early on. The slick Swede facilitated a give-and-go play towards the net with Michael Carcone—but ultimately proved unable to finish the play as Scott Wedgewood turned aside the blistering shot to preserve a scoreless affair.
It wasn’t until Pierre Engvall received the game’s first penalty infraction, one he would soon regret, for the deadlock to be broken. Engvall’s decision to interfere with the opposition on his way to make a line change at the Marlies bench resulted in a power-play goal against, courtesy of C.J. Smith’s deflection of Kevin Porter’s initial shot from the point. A change in the puck’s angle was enough to fool Michael Garteig and effectively resulted in a 1-0 advantage for the Americans at the 13:25 mark of the frame.
The Marlies applied pressure towards the end of the opening twenty minutes, however, Michael Carcone was denied by a goalie's best friend, the crossbar. Dmytro Timashov intercepted a breakout pass to hold the offensive zone blue-line and should be credited for his effort to locate Carcone on the counter-attack.
Rochester continued to flex their scoring prowess in the second frame, with C.J. Smith picking up his second goal of the contest just five minutes in. The score would go on to remain 2-0 through forty minutes of play. Fortunately, Michael Garteig turned away Victor Olofsson on a breakaway attempt to keep Marlies well within reach.
As the game progressed into the final twenty minutes of regulation time, the narrative shifted back in favour of Rochester after Trevor Moore scored to make it a one-goal game. Moore managed to get Toronto on the scoreboard within the first three minutes of the third period, only 2:43 in to be exact, with a slick snipe from a poor angle beside Scott Wedgewood’s net.
It was when tempers boiled over following a break in the action that Michael Carcone skated away with a game misconduct for cross-checking and subsequently gifted Rochester a lengthy five-minute power play.
The infraction occurred as a result of Carcone’s cross-check against Jack Dougherty and prompted a scuffle to ensue. The outcome proved to be detrimental, as the Americans stormed ahead 4-1 with back-to-back power-play tallies in a span of fewer than two minutes. Kevin Porter and Victor Olofsson each scored, respectively, to put the game further out of Toronto’s hands.
The Americans managed to add another tally, this time off the stick of C.J. Smith into an empty cage for his third goal of the evening. Ultimately, the Rochester Americans would walk away with a convincing 5-1 victory and prove why they're still atop the North Division standings.
Following the game, Chris Mueller credited the North Division leaders but was also critical of his squad's special teams play;
“Our power play didn’t get the job done. My unit is one of the unit’s, and our job is to get that momentum and get scoring chances, and we were embarrassing tonight.”
Sheldon Keefe attributed the game's turning point to Michael Carcone's crosschecking misconduct that left Toronto shorthanded for five minutes in its entirety. He described it as "a very egregious penalty that puts himself ahead of the team."
Photo credit: @TorontoMarlies