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Rocket @ Marlies recap and highlights: Lack of finish dooms Laval in OT loss

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Plenty of chances, but an inability to convert costs Laval on the road.

Shanna Martin

Kenny Agostino scored with 25 seconds left in overtime to give the Toronto Marlies a 2-1 victory over the Laval Rocket on Wednesday night at Coca Cola Coliseum.

The former Rocket spun around in the offensive zone and fired a shot that beat Charlie Lindgren five-hole to secure the win in the team’s first game since Sheldon Keefe was hired as head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday afternoon.

Laval had tons of opportunities in the third period and overtime before Agostino’s goal. Ryan Poehling had a two on one with Dale Weise and got a pass right at the edge of the crease but his shot was saved by Michael Hutchinson. Michael Peca took a pass from Otto Leskinen in the slot but fired the puck over the net. In all, the Rocket had five shots in the overtime period.

The Rocket opened the scoring midway through the first period when David Sklenicka found Peca who beat Michael Hutchinson on a breakaway with a nasty deke for his second goal of the season.

A scary moment occurred with just over six minutes to go in the first period. Garrett Wilson hit Alex Belzile from behind, leaving Belzile motionless. Belzile eventually skated off but did not return to the game. Wilson got a game misconduct and five minute major for checking from behind. Otto Leskinen fought him and got the instigator leaving Laval with a three minute power play when everything was said and done.

The Rocket couldn’t capitalize on the power play and just 3:03 into the second period, the Marlies tied it up when three players followed Tanner MacMaster into the corner who centred the puck for Scott Pooley who made no mistake.

Laval had two power play opportunities in the second period, but the closest they came is when Riley Barber hit the bar behind Hutchinson. In the dying seconds of the second period, Kristians Rubins hit the post behind Lindgren but the puck stayed out leaving the game tied 1-1 after 40 minutes with the Rocket holding a 16-8 advantage in shots.

Teams traded scoring chances through the first half of the third period. Alexandre Alain had two chances in the opening minute but was stopped on the initial shot and the rebound.

Lindgren made a big save on MacMaster later but was probably kicked and likely wouldn’t have been allowed. The Rocket goaltender made 19 saves on 21 shots.

After a Rocket penalty, Lindgren made a big save, that led to Lukas Vejdemo starting a 2 on 1 but his shot was saved by Hutchinson. Later on the penalty kill, Sklenicka set up Jake Evans but Hutchinson made a huge blocker save. The Marlies came back the other way and Lindgren made two saves on Adam Brooks from in close and another on Matt Read with his pad after the penalty expired.

Vejdemo, who saw his six-game point streak snapped, had another opportunity when he created a turnover in the slot, and forced Hutchinson to dive out to break up the chance. The Marlies goaltender made 32 saves on 33 shots.

Laval almost came away with nothing, as Jesper Lindgren took a shot from the circle with a big windup, but Lindgren made the save and held on for whistle with 48 seconds left.

Notes

  • Noah Juulsen missed the game after leaving morning skate due to an illness. David Sklenicka played in his place. Dale Weise returned to the lineup after missing both games last weekend. He replaced Michael Pezzetta.
  • Riley Barber led the Rocket with five shots. Joël Bouchard said after the game that Belzile was removed from the game as a precaution, and will be monitored.
  • The Rocket head home for two games this weekend against the Utica Comets, another big division rivalry, on Friday and Saturday. Saturday afternoon’s game is the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss.