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Heat Push Marlies, D’Agostini Shoves Back in Win

Heat Push Marlies, D’Agostini Shoves Back in Win

CALGARY – Looking back at Sunday night’s game, I couldn’t help to feel for Stockton. They had the chances in the offensive zone; they were able to make something out of Toronto’s mistakes – but not a goal. The Marlies, led by Andrew D’Agostini, only held the Heat to one goal, but it wasn’t without a strong game by the Flames affiliate.

D’Agostini got his sixth straight start after only allowing one goal on 32 shots on Sunday afternoon. Garret Sparks got the nod for Stockton. Sparks previously played for the Marlies in 2017-18. Tuesday’s start was his 150th in the AHL.

“I don’t think I had expected to play all the games so far,” D’Agostini told reporters. “I’m happy with the results; I’m happy with the teams to play”

It wouldn’t take long for the Marlies to get the game’s opening goal. The play started with Calle Rosen keeping the puck in at the line. Richard Clune was set up in his office, plopped a foot in front of the net. With the pass from Rosen, Clune made a move to open Sparks to break the ice.

Shortside glove. The Marlies tried it a few times before finding twine. Kristians Rubins found himself streaking through center but with no shooting lane. Joey Anderson followed near the boards for the shot-directed short side glove for his second goal of the season and a 2-0 Marlies lead.

With just over four minutes left in the first, the Marlies continued their scoring with their third goal of the night. Kenny Agostino had the Stockton defense chasing him. He knew that. The pursuit created a path for Joseph Duszak, who connected on drop pass by Agostino marked the Marlies third of the opening 20 minutes.

By the time the 20-minute mark rolled around, I had to check to make sure it wasn’t watching the second period of Sunday’s game. The game was close, shot-wise 13-10 Toronto. The Marlies were able to find a better pocket and more potent opportunities through their offensive attacks.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t think we had our foot down on the pedal at any point to start the game,” said Marlies Head Coach Greg Moore. “We were very fortunate to be up the way we were – the group knows it.”

Tyler Gaudet has been a machine to start the season. Going into Tuesday’s game, he had three goals and three assists through five games. To get his fourth marker, Gaudet skated free and positioned himself ahead of Sparks. With a pass from Scott Pooley, Gaudet made no mistake continue the Stockton bleed.

It was clear Stockton’s blood was boiling. For the majority of the middle period, the Heat controlled the game. With posts, one-timers, and flashy glove saves by D’Agostini, the pot boiled over with a fight between Eetu Tuulola and Timothy Liljegren. Clune and Alex Gallant also dropped the gloves.

Stockton’s offensive push seemed to be denied at every corner. Visually, Stockton looked complacent as they outshot 14-6 in the second. Stockton ran into a hot goaltender, and playing their game seemed to be the only solution for the burning.

The third period was the first sign of life for Stockton. Just over two and a half minutes into the game, Gallant made time and space for a wrist shot following Mark Simpson’s pass. The P.E.I. native showed that there was a glimmer of hope for the Heat. Gallant had eight points (five goals, three assists) last season for Stockton, doing it in 43 games.

Toronto was hot on rebounds all game long. It was clear they liked to linger around the blue paint and look for rebounds. Anderson did just that, getting the Marlies fifth goal of the night. With the initial shot by Rubins from the point, the rebound from the pads created a scoring chance for Toronto. It was the final goal of the night as Toronto took it 5-1.

While the sign of life had initial promise for the Heat, they ran into a hot goaltender. It was Stockton’s game, but D’Agostini was the show stopper for the Marlies and kept Toronto in the game, especially in the final 40 minutes.

“I think if this is mid-season anywhere else and you get a stretch like this, I’d probably be hurting a lot more than I am right now,” said D’Agostini, “Certainly momentum has gotten me feeling pretty good…We’ll see what the case is for tomorrow; if I’m playing, we’ll have to take it one period at a time.”

The next game between the two will come on tonight at 8:00 pm ET. The game will be live on AHL TV, with live updates on Twitter @SinBinMarlies.

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    Zack Power covers the Toronto Marlies for The Sin Bin. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @SinBinMarlies.

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