Joël Bouchard’s troops proved that they wanted to avenge their Wednesday night overtime loss to the Marlies and dominated in the opening frame, testing Toronto netminder Michael Hutchinson 14 times by period’s end. Despite this, it was the Marlies who got the first goal of the night as Dmytro Timashov hit the puck out of the air and behind Michael McNiven, who made 21 saves in the Rocket’s loss.
Michael Carcone took advantage of an early Toronto powerplay to snipe his 15th of the season under the crossbar and double his team’s lead just six minutes into the second period. Though Laval would take two more penalties in the period, they continued to pressure Hutchinson with another 14 shots on goal for a combined total of 28 shots after forty minutes of play. Of those 14 shots on goal, of note was a shorthanded two-on-one that Hutchinson had to dive stomach first to save and a breakaway from Hayden Verbeek that Hutchinson stopped with his glove.
The Rocket had two powerplay opportunities in the third and hit the 40-shot mark in the period with over six minutes remaining, but even with McNiven on the bench for the extra attacker Hutchinson was able to maintain his shutout while his team scored in the empty net to lock in a 3-0 victory.
“Even though the score was 3-0 we were the better team on the ice,” said Bouchard after the game. “We had 42 shots and a lot of chances to score but we faced a veteran goaltender who was very good and who knew what he was doing.”
TOR: Timashov (Rubins, Carcone) | Carcone (Liljegren, Gagne) | Engvall
Goaltenders: LAV: McNiven (21/23) | TOR: Hutchinson (42/42)
Rocket Powerplay: 0/5 | Rocket Penalty Kill: 3/4
Three Stars: 1. Michael Hutchinson – TOR | 2. Michael Carcone – TOR | 3. Hayden Verbeek – LAV