After recording his eighth career shutout on Saturday, his first of the season in Toronto’s 2-0 win, Kasimir Kaskisuo and the Marlies returned to action on Sunday afternoon against the Cleveland Monsters.
Prior to the game, it was announced that the Marlies had recalled Zach O’Brien from the Newfoundland Growlers, a transaction that was made after learning of the loss of centreman Adam Brooks on Friday.
According to the organization, Brooks suffered a neck strain in practice on Friday and will be out of the lineup on Sunday before being re-evaluated ahead of the next road trip.
On a more positive note, Saturday’s win gave the Marlies a 5-0-0 record to open the season, the team’s best start in franchise history since being founded by the AHL in 2005.
As the last of the three-game homestand got underway at Coca-Cola Coliseum, Joseph Woll was given the start, opposing Matiss Kivlenieks between the pipes while looking for a victory to close out the series.
Woll was last given the start on Saturday October 12th when the Marlies paid a visit to the Manitoba Moose, AHL affiliate of the Jets, at Bell MTS Place.
With the game well through the first period, it would be Toronto lacking defence early on, the Cleveland Monsters, like Saturday, playing aggressive, looking to make a statement and get on the scoreboard. That being said, it wouldn’t take long for that reality to set in as centreman Zach Dalpe would open the scoring, giving the Monsters a 1-0 lead. For Dalpe, it was his third of the season with assists from Eric Robinson and Markus Hannikainen.
This would tighten up the Marlies defence as they would look to continue their five-game win streak, however, at the 5:44 point of the game, things would start to look tough for Toronto. This would find the Marlies taking charge in the Cleveland zone, Paul Bittner being called for holding, sending the left-winger to the box on a penalty. For the Marlies, the call would give them their first power play of the afternoon.
After two minutes with the man advantage, the play would be brought to even strength, the Monsters remaining with the 1-0 lead while remaining consistent and looking to do more. In their favour, the next play would be telling as Hudson Elynuik would be called for tripping, sending the centreman to the box on a penalty while handing Cleveland their first power play of the game.
For the Monsters offence, the plan worked perfectly after shooting around in Toronto’s zone, Justin Scott doubling Cleveland’s lead with nine minutes remaining in the game’s first frame. For Scott, it was his first of the season with assists from Andrew Peeke and Nathan Gerbe. As the period resumed from centre ice, the Marlies would find themselves seeking a comeback, a hope that started after Kole Sherwood was called for cross-checking, sending the right-winger off the ice to the penalty box.
As Toronto was awarded the power play, this would lead the way for Rasmus Sandin, who with two minutes left in the period, would take full advantage of the opportunity, sniping a bullet past Matiss Kivlenieks. For Sandin, it would be his first goal since making his return to the AHL, meanwhile, assists on the play were awarded to both Pontus Aberg and Egor Korshkov. This wouldn’t be all as the Marlies continued to roll out strong, Pontus Aberg with a goal of his own with less than a minute left to play in the frame. For Aberg, it was his fourth goal on an assist from Pierre Engvall.
With the game back to even strength after meeting back at centre ice, both sides would continue to battle with the game now tied at two apiece, however, unable to make anything of it with 40 seconds left to play on the clock. This would be all she wrote as the game’s first period was brought to a close. After the first twenty minutes of play, Toronto would lead in shots by two, 11-9.
After a brief intermission to reconnect and talk strategy to win, both teams would return to the ice looking to continue the competitive rivalry, however, it would be the Marlies starting off on the right foot after Eric Robinson was called for elbowing, sending him to the penalty box just two minutes in. After the power play for Toronto was killed off, it would be Cleveland looking to do more damage as Andrew Peeke sent the puck up the ice and into the tape of Sam Vigneault who would put the Monsters ahead. For Vigneault, it would be his second goal of the season on Peeke’s second assist of the afternoon.
Just over a minute later, Tanner MacMaster, skating around in Cleveland’s zone, would find an empty hole in the crease guarded by Kivlenieks and stick it by him and in to tie the game once again at three apiece. For the centremen, it would be his second goal of the season and his second of the three-game homestand with a sweep in mind. That being said, as the game commenced shortly after, Jesper Lindgren would be called for holding, giving the Marlies their second penalty of the game.
For the Monsters, it would strike up a power play as the aggression continued to show, Kole Sherwood, eleven seconds later, with the goal that would put Cleveland ahead. This would give the Monsters a 4-3 lead over the Toronto Marlies at the 6:17 mark. For Sherwood, it was his third goal of the season on assists from both Zach Dalpe and Adam Clendening.
With the game now back to even strength and just under ten minutes left to play in the frame, Kenny Agostino would take matters back into his own hands down in Cleveland’s zone, netting his second goal of the season past Matiss Kivlenieks, preserving the Marlies dignity in the back and forth battle. For Agostino, it was also his second goal of the three-game homestand which would also tie the game at four apiece at the 11:57 mark.
This would be about as interesting as it got for the remainder of the second as Toronto, with less than 20 seconds left to play, would be called for too many men, resulting in a penalty served by Pontus Aberg. For the Monsters, it would hand them yet another opportunity on the power play, though they would be unable to make early use of it, running out of time with just 13 seconds left. At the end of forty minutes, Cleveland would be tied with the Marlies at four, meanwhile, trailing them in shots by five, 19-14.
As the third and final period got underway at Coca-Cola Coliseum, the Toronto Marlies and Cleveland Monsters, both seeking the win in the matinee, would continue to pile on shots, this up until Egor Korshkov was called for holding. This would send him to the penalty box, giving the Monsters their fourth power play of the game. As Cleveland failed to get anything going, the game would return to five-on-five action. However, for Toronto, they weren’t so lucky as they would be handed another penalty.
This time, it was Tyler Gaudet as he was sent off the ice, called for hooking. This would give the Monsters another boost of competitive energy as 17 seconds later, Justin Scott would net his second of both the game and the season as well. Nathan Gerbe would receive the assist, his second of the game and his sixth of the season. This would give the Monsters a 5-4 lead over the resilient Marlies.
As Cleveland picked up from where they left off earlier on, this would mean making Joseph Woll work, however, he would silent the Monsters for the remainder thanks to the defence being played in front of him. As for offensive production, given the storyline of success in this game, it would find Garrett Wilson, at 13:48, tie the game up at five with his first of the season. Rasmus Sandin, who scored earlier on, would pick up the primary assist on the play. The secondary assist would be awarded to Pierre Engvall.
Rasmus Sandin, selected in the first round (29th overall), came into Sunday night’s game having played two games where he had gone scoreless, but added two assists, picking up the secondary in the second period on Sunday. This would contribute to the goal as scored early on by Darren Archibald. As the third frame carried on, looking ahead to the 18:14 mark, Dillon Simpson would be called for hooking, sending the 26-year-old defensemen to the penalty box.
This would give Toronto their fourth power play of the game, giving the Marlies a battle to work with, getting around Adam Clendening and the Cleveland offence. However, they were unable to further produce, bringing the game back to even strength. Now with one minute left and a high level of intensity while tied up at four, both Nathan Gerbe and Kenny Agostino would be called for roughing, resulting in four-on-four action. Once both returned to the ice, it was a battle of the teams to the finish line, but both Joseph Woll and Matiss Kivlenieks remained steady, keeping the game knotted up going to overtime. At the end of regulation action, the Monsters would lead in shots by one, 10-9.
Once the extra frame got underway, the Marlies would suffer their first potential setback as Garrett Wilson was called for interference, sending the left-winger off to the penalty box. However, thankfully for Toronto, they would not succumb to a one man loss as the Cleveland Monsters, led by Nathan Gerbe and Adam Clendening, would fail to score.
That would be as exciting as things got with the extra frame concluding, sending the game into shootout. Nathan Gerbe would start off for Cleveland, missing the net, handing the puck to Toronto. That would pave way for Pontus Aberg, who in the Marlies first attempt, would miss as well.
Up next for the Monsters was Markus Hannikainen who would successfully net the puck past Woll. Unlike Hannikainen, however, Jeremy Bracco would shoot and miss the net. Following Cleveland’s successful attempt, Woll would start to find his game when he needed it, blocking the remainder of the shots that he faced, allowing Toronto the chance to win it.
That being said, following Bracco’s attempt, Agostino would find a hole past Kivlenieks, tying the shootout at one with the Monsters, once again going head-to-head. Pierre Engvall, who has two goals so far this season, would be the next shooter behind Agostino, missing the net, making way for Matt Read, who much like the left-winger, would come up empty. Down to their final shooter, Egor Korshkov arose to the challenge, dangling the puck out in front of the net before poking it under Kivlenieks’ left pad and in. This would be the decider, giving Toronto their sixth win of the season.
The Marlies would finish the game leading Cleveland in shots by five, 31-26. After recording two assists in the win, Pierre Engvall would be the named the first star, followed by Rasmus Sandin, who contributed to the victory with both a goal and an assist of his own. Coming in last with the third star of the game, Justin Scott would be awarded for his two-goal performance in the Monsters 6-5 loss.
After the game, The Puck Authority spoke with 23-year-old centremen Tanner MacMaster, who when asked about the fight of the Toronto Marlies in the shootout victory, said, “We were down two, quick and then we got two big goals before the first and you know, that sent us to the dressing room happy, but like you said, this resilient group kept coming back and then Wollsy made a couple big stops in the shootout to give us a chance.”
Joseph Woll then followed MacMaster’s act, discussing his performance against the Monsters on Sunday where he said, “It was alright, I definitely didn’t play my best game today, but when you have a team like that to bail you out, it’s pretty cool. It gives me a lot of confidence back there, so it’s a big testament to the boys today.”
Further elaborating on the 6-5 victory that gives the Marlies a perfect record to start the season, head coach Sheldon Keefe said to the media when asked about the immediate impact this has on Toronto, “It was good, a good sign of some resilience, we’ve been winning all sorts of different ways and this is a unique one here today, but I liked how our guys just kind of stayed with it, you know, the way our season has gone. It could be a little easier to say it’s not really our day and some of the bounces are catching up to us, but I like how we fought right to the end, I mean, penalty kill and overtime, we grind that out after it was a tough night for the PK. Joe Woll stands strong right to very last shot to win in the shootout, so a lot of really good signs for our guys to persevere through it.”
With Cleveland having fallen 6-5 to Toronto on Sunday night, they now hold a record of 3-3-0-1 going into their game on Friday night against the IceHogs. The Toronto Marlies close out their three-game homestand having gained some knowledge about their abilities and will look to apply them to their games going forward as they open a road trip against Binghamton on Saturday. The game can be seen on AHL TV and Leafs Nation Network, meanwhile, it can be heard on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto.