Marlies Game Recap
Toronto Marlies vs Cleveland Monsters
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Fireworks, fog, people screaming – sounds like an early Halloween party.
Well, it wasn’t Halloween themed, but it sure was a party, or should I say, celebration, as the 2018 Calder Cup Championship banner was unveiled Monday night at Coca-Cola Coliseum. The first championship banner, may I add, for the Maple Leafs franchise in 51 years.
Before puck drop, the Calder Cup itself sat blissfully in the spotlight at centre ice, as a video montage commemorated last year’s championship season in front of a nearly sold out sea of blue and white.
An abysmal start for the Marlies, however, quieted their faithful relatively quickly. When Cleveland’s Justin Scott made it 2-0, after Sam Gagner coughed up the puck, at the 5:33 mark, the Marlies had yet to even put a shot on net.
Chris Mueller scored Toronto’s only power play goal of the game (1-for-5 on PP) on a beautiful cross-ice pass by Dmytro Timashov. Mueller’s fourth point in three games cut the deficit in half, but his name was just barely announced before the Monsters put another one past Kasimir Kaskisuo.
Then another… and another. On the first two shots of the second period. Both courtesy of Zac Dalpe.
Fans were somber, and a comeback seemed unlikely. The Marlies were extremely lackluster for the first half of this game and it showed on the scoreboard.
Just 16 seconds after Dalpe’s second of the game, Gagner redeemed himself from his earlier mishap and scored his third goal of the season. Not only did Gagner, who by the way is basically a lend-a-player from the Vancouver Canucks right now, turn his night around, but so did the Marlies.
A huge effort by Gagner, whose NHL experience became evident in this one, and some finesse from Jordan Subban, got the puck to Calle Rosen, who snapped a one timer past Jean-Francois Berube to make it 5-3 late in the second.
Berube hadn’t been tested much in the first two periods, but that sure changed in the third. Marlies finally started to find their groove, pour on some pressure, and pepper Berube with shots – 20 to be exact.
Head Coach Sheldon Keefe must have given his team the “Any Given Sunday” speech during the intermission because the Marlies looked like a different squad in the later part of this game. No doubt they were playing desperate hockey, down two goals, but the Marlies were driving the net and dominated most of the play. Toronto outshot Cleveland 20-2 in the third.
Kaskisuo made 19 saves on 24 shots and his night ended early, as the Marlies played the final four and a half minutes with the net empty and a sixth man. Their efforts were too little too late in this one and ultimately, the Marlies had no answer for the solid play of Berube, who made 37 saves.
Cleveland Monsters spoil the Marlies home opener and take this North Division match-up 5-3.
A few days off for the Marlies, but up next, the Utica Comets come to town for a back-to-back homestand on Saturday, October 13th and Sunday, October 14th.
3 Stars of the game:
3. TOR – #89 Sam Gagner
2. CLE - #35 Jean-Francois Berube
1. CLE - #28 Zac Dalpe
Jordan Subban – One assist, four shots on goal. Circulated the puck well on the power play and looked great on the point. He’s fast and has a rocket of a shot. Sort of like another guy named Subban
Andreas Borgman – Minus three. Not his best night. Had a couple bad defensive plays and looked sluggish overall.