The Marlies returned to action Wednesday night to kick off the North Division Finals against the Cleveland Monsters. Both teams came out flying in the opening minutes, looking to shift the momentum in their favour. The Marlies found themselves down by one after 20 minutes of play but battled back with four goals in the second and an empty net goal late in the game to take game one 5-2.
A holding penalty at 12:10 cost the Marlies, as the Monsters converted just 30 seconds into their man-advantage. Tommy Cross opened the scoring for the visitors, wiring a shot from the point past a screened Kasimir Kaskisuo. The Marlies outshot the Monsters 11-6 in the opening 20 minutes and generated a lot of good chances on two power play opportunities but couldn’t find the back of the net. They trailed by one at the end of the first period.
Pierre Engvall got the Marlies on the board early in the second period, beating Brad Thiessen five-hole to even the score 1-1. Rasmus Sandin and Josh Jooris assisted on the goal. Minutes later, Mark Letestu restored the Monsters’ one-goal lead. Penalties then proved costly for the Monsters as the Marlies scored three unanswered power play goals to jump ahead 4-2. At 11:59, Trevor Moore found Chris Mueller on the doorstep and he made no mistake burying his fourth of the postseason. Jeremy Bracco picked up the secondary assist on the goal. At 14:14, Dmytro Timashov gave the Marlies their first lead of the night firing a rocket top shelf from the hashmarks. Rasmus Sandin and Bracco assisted on the goal. At 15:52, Trevor Moore buried a shot that ricocheted off the post to make it 4-2. Mueller and Bracco assisted on the goal.
Late in the game, the Monsters pulled Thiessen in favour of an extra attacker as they looked to cut the deficit. With time winding down, Moore found the empty net to seal the win. Assists on Moore’s second of the game went to Bracco and Timothy Liljegren.
Cleveland: T. Cross (1) PP (M. Letestu, A. Broadhurst), M. Letestu (3) (S. Milano, T. Cross) Goaltender: B. Thiessen (21/25)
Toronto: P. Engvall (1) (R. Sandin, J. Jooris), C. Mueller (4) PP (T. Moore, J. Bracco), D. Timashov (1) PP (R. Sandin,
J. Bracco), T. Moore (1) PP (C. Mueller, J. Bracco), T. Moore (2) EN, PP (J. Bracco, T. Liljegren) Goaltender: K. Kaskisuo (14/16)
ON THE SCORESHEET
Pierre Engvall opened the scoring for Toronto at 2:15 of the second period. This was his first goal of the postseason. Engvall has two points (1 goal, 1 assist) through four games.
Chris Mueller scored on the power play at 11:59 of the second period and later added the primary assist on Moore’s second period goal. Mueller leads the league in power play goals (3).
Dmytro Timashov scored the game-winning goal on the power play at 14:13 of the second period. Timashov has points (1-3-4) in four consecutive games.
Trevor Moore scored on the power play at 15:42 of the second period and added the empty net at 19:44 of the third period. He also recorded the primary assist on Mueller’s second period power play goal. This was his first postseason game with the Marlies this season. Moore has 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) through 32 AHL playoff games.
Rasmus Sandin recorded the primary assists on Engvall and Timashov’s second period power play goals. Sandin has picked up six assists through four games, leading all defencemen and rookies.
Josh Jooris registered the secondary assist on Engvall’s second period goal. This was his first point of the postseason.
Jeremy Bracco collected the secondary assists on Mueller, Timashov and Moore’s second period power play goals. He picked up the primary assist on Moore’s empty net power play goal in the third period. Bracco tied the team record for number of assists in a game (4).
Timothy Liljegren had the primary assist on Moore’s empty net third period goal. This was Liljegren’s first point of the playoffs.
Kasimir Kaskisuo stopped 14 of 16 shots he faced. Kaskisuo is now 4-0-0-0 in the playoffs with a .949 Save Percentage and a 1.49 Goals Against Average.
Toronto was 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and was 4-for-7 on the power play. Toronto tied a team record for power play goals in a game with four which occurred against Albany on May 10, 2016.
Toronto had a 26-16 edge in shots in all situations. Mason Marchment led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
Goals: A. Brooks, C. Mueller (4)
Assists: J. Bracco, R. Sandin (6)
Points: J. Bracco (8)
PPG: C. Mueller (3)*
Shots: A. Borgman (10)
+/-: A. Brooks, R. Sandin (+4)
PIMS: M. Carcone (6) *AHL-leading
CURRENT POINT STREAKS
Dmytro Timashov has points (1-3-4) in three consecutive games.
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On tonight’s game:
I really liked our third period. We talked about the fact that playing this team in the regular season that seemed like no lead was safe, so it was a challenge for us to really take care of the lead here today. There’s some moments there we’d like to have back but for the most part I thought we did a really good job of controlling the play and making it real hard for them to generate any sort of offence.
On how the team responded with five defence for most of the game:
I think that might be the best part of the game in terms of having to take care of a lead and do so with a short-handed staff and losing such an important piece. It just speaks to how the season has gone for us. Guys have left our lineup for different reasons, other people have had to step up and today was no different. Everybody’s minutes got increased, all the guys from Sandin and Liljegren, the young guys taking on extra time, to the older guys with experience, Borgman, LoVerde played solid for us too.
On Calle Rosen:
I saw the play, it looked to be an unfortunate play where he just lost his balance. Took a bit of a shot and then lost his balance and just couldn’t control himself with all the speed. I don’t have much of an update other than x-rays were negative with him but he was obviously not able to come back to play today. So, we will know more I guess in the next coming days leading up to game two. X-rays were negative, so that’s good news and we’ll just see how he is in the morning.
On Trevor Moore returning to the top line of Chris Mueller and Jeremy Bracco: What we thought with Mooresy coming back, it changed the look of our team and gives us a better opportunity to be able to have four lines. We could play consistently and not be too concerned with matchups or anything like that. Also thought that Mooresy’s speed and his tenacity on the puck really helped Mueller and Bracco spend more time in the offensive zone and help us get out of own zone, those types of things and I thought he did a good job of that. So yah, I was happy with it. As the game wears on, you start moving things around a little bit as I suspect we will probably continue to do, to try different combinations throughout the game and be able to have different looks for different circumstances throughout the game, but it was really nice to have him back. Not just in that line, but everything that he does, power play, penalty kill, the confidence he gives our team.
On Egor Korshkov:
I’m just learning a lot about him myself, he hasn’t skated with our team here yet, he will tomorrow in practice. We are going to take it a day at a time with him in terms of how he adjusts and when we see him in the lineup. He’s got a lot going on in terms of adjusting to life over here. But just having a quick peak on the ice skating with some of our scratches, real big guy with a good skill set and in brief discussions with him, he’s excited to be here and have an opportunity to acclimate himself in North America and he’s important guy in the organization, so we’re happy to bring him.
CHRIS MUELLER (1 GOAL, 1 ASSIST)
On Toronto’s power play which recorded four goals:
Oh we got a lot of confidence. When you play with a guy like Jeremy Bracco, you take one off, you know he’s looking for another one, you take that one away he’s got another one up his sleeve. So, we got a lot of good guys on our team that are skilled guys that look to make plays. Sandy stepping in for Rosen, Mooresy back, Brooksy was there. That’s a lot of guys that are feeling a lot of confidence. I say that all the time, when you got confidence (and) we have confidence on our power play, you can go a long way. We knew our power play had to come through. We don’t take many penalties (like) we did today, it was kind of surprising how many penalties were in the game. But fortunately for us our power play came through in a big way and hats off to the guys drawing the penalties.
On Cleveland trying to impact the Toronto physically: Yah, absolutely, you know Rochester tried to do the same thing. That’s a good hockey team, they’re not going to go away. They are probably playing their best hockey of the year, as we feel we are. Two teams, not a lot of people gave chances to that are both feeling it and that was just one game, that’s one step. We did our job in Game 1. Now we need to look at some things, even some things on the power play because we could have buried them with the fourth one in the second period and we just have to keep going. It’s just one step, we can’t be too high, can’t be too low. Enjoy for a little bit but (Cleveland) is a good hockey team that’s going to come ready to play on Friday.
May 3 vs Cleveland – 7:00 p.m. ET
May 5 at Cleveland – 3:00 p.m. ET
May 7 at Cleveland – 7:00 p.m. ET
*May 11 vs Cleveland – 4:00 p.m. ET
*May 13 at Cleveland – 7:00 p.m. ET
*May 15 vs Cleveland – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies are set to face the Cleveland Monsters in the second round of the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs. Game One of the North Division Finals will take place on Wednesday, May 1 at Coca-Cola Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. ET. Toronto defeated the Rochester Americans 3-1 on Wednesday to sweep the best-of-five series. The North Division Finals will follow the standard seven game series format with Toronto starting at home for the first two games of the series.
The second round series marks the first postseason meeting between these two teams. This is the Monsters’ first postseason appearance since winning the Calder Cup in 2016. After sneaking into playoff contention as the last team to secure their spot, the Monsters handled the division leading Syracuse Crunch handily with a 3-1 series win, proving they are not to be taken lightly. Toronto and Cleveland met eight times during the regular season, with the Monsters taking the season series 5-3. Those meetings were close offensive battles with five of the eight contests requiring an extra time decision.
After sweeping the Americans in the first round, the Marlies will look to draw from the systems that brought success against Rochester; goaltending and special teams. Kasimir Kaskisuo was stellar between the pipes, turning away 97 of 101 shots in the opening round series sweep. The Marlies were 25% on the power play and nearly perfect (88.9%) on the penalty kill, allowing only one goal in nine Rochester power play opportunities. The Marlies have also added some depth to their lineup with the return of Calle Rosen, Trevor Moore and Michael Hutchinson.
Following a week-long break from game action, Sheldon Keefe expressed the team’s eagerness to get this series started, adding “you get to prepare, be a little more thorough in your preparations and also spread out what you provide the players, not have to overwhelm them. So, it’s been good. We’ve had a sufficient amount of time and I think we’ve had a good process to be able to prepare and now we’re just anxious to play the games.”
Puck drops at 7:00PM on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2 and AHL TV. Fans across Canada can also stream the game live in the Maple Leafs app. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for behind-the-scenes access at Coca-Cola Coliseum.