TORONTO – Tim Brent scored a pair for Toronto on Wednesday night, but it was a goal from Phil Oreskovic that really got the Marlies going.
After falling behind early, the Marlies scored four straight before hanging on for a 4-3 win over the Manitoba Moose in American Hockey League play.
Highlighting the victory was Oreskovic’s first goal in 52 games this season, a short-handed marker that put the Marlies up 3-2 late in the second.
“The bench went crazy,” said Toronto head coach Dallas Eakins. “I think it was probably the first time all year I put my arms up the in air. You’re so excited for the kid and plus it was a massive goal for us.
“That was the change in the game right there.”
Ben Simon made a terrific move down the right side before finding Oreskovic with a soft pass on a 2-on-1.
“It’s not a common time to jump up in the rush, but I saw the opening, we had a 1-on-1, so I thought I’d join the rush,” he said. “Pretty much just closed my eyes and smacked it in, just like the other two I’ve had in my (AHL) career.
“The boys were really pulling for me, so it was nice to get that one and break the goose egg.”
Brent’s second of the night made it 4-2 early in the third and turned out to be the game-winner.
Brent said he used the two recent games against the Moose in Winnipeg to his advantage, scoring a beautiful goal after he darted out from the half-board and cut across the slot.
“The one thing I noticed about (Moose netminder Cory Schneider) is he likes to come out and cut down the angle,” Brent said. “I had their D-men kind of flat-footed and he was at the top of the crease. Once I dropped my shoulder, I knew he was down and all I had to do was keep skating with it and the lane would open up and that’s what happened.”
Sergei Shirokov banged in a rebound to pull Manitoba (27-24-6) to within one with just over seven minutes to play, but that was as close as the Moose would get, as Joey MacDonald shut the door from there for the Marlies (21-26-10).
The rest of Manitoba’s offence came from familiar sources as Michael Grabner scored for the fourth-straight contest, while Marco Rosa buried his third goal in two games. Grabner has five goals over his hot stretch, while Rosa has also scored five times in his last five games.
The streaking pair staked Manitoba to a quick 2-0 lead 8:14 into the first, with Grabner’s coming just 11 seconds in.
With Toronto needing every point it can get to stay in the playoff race, Eakins was disappointed to see his team come out so flat against a North Division rival.
“When your team comes out and gets scored on on the first shift, a lot of times the coach takes it personally,” he said. “You think you’ve prepared them the right way and they’re ready to go and it’s a big game, and suddenly there’s a quick breakdown like that. It rattles you a bit.”
The Marlies rallied, however, beginning with Kyle Calder’s power-play goal to make it 2-1 at 10:25 of the first.
The score stayed that way until Brent’s first of the night with just over three minutes to go in the second period.
Notes: Marlies forward Andre Deveaux served the final game of a three-game suspension for throwing a roll of tape at a fan last Friday in Manitoba. … Ben Ondrus and Ryan Hamilton both returned to the Marlies lineup after being out since before the New Year with injuries. … The Moose played their second of a seven-game road trip. They’re in Rochester on Friday night before returning to Toronto for a return date with the Marlies on Saturday. … Attendance at Richo Coliseum was 1,984.