Three-in-three weekends are a grind, even when your only travel is a short car ride. That’s a lot of hockey to be playing consecutively, and you start to feel it as early as the second game. At least, that’s what the Toronto Marlies will likely be saying tonight, after a disappointing outing against the Rochester Americans.
Toronto lost control of this game right from the start, failing to take a shot for the first eight and a half minutes. Not only did Rochester have eight of them in the same timeframe, but Dan Catenacci broke the ice with his first goal of the season at a bit after the five minute mark. Toronto evened up the pace for a little bit, but this resulted in more neutral-zone play than anything.
Just twenty four seconds into the second period, the Amerks widened the gap, as Akim Aliu blew by Andrew MacWilliam and Korbinian Holzer en route to beating Christopher Gibson. Before the period could reach the half-way mark, Phil Varone and Mikhail Grigorenko added goals to leave the Marlies trailing by four. The optics of the game looked just as bad; Toronto struggled to escape their own zone for extended periods and gave up fifteen shots. Tempers flared after the fourth goal, and Andrew MacWilliam took out his frustrations on Aliu; first with a hit that earned him an interference penalty, and finally with a fight that added five minutes to his penalty box vacation.
The Marlies gained new life in the third period, however. Like Aliu’s goal in the period prior, Connor Brown managed to score in the opening thirty seconds. This set the tone for a much more competitive period for Toronto; they took more shots in the third than they did in the two periods prior combined. It wasn’t enough though, and they skated of the ice with a loss (and a bunch of last-minute penalties).
The team really did not have a good outing on the whole tonight, but I’m going to give Connor Brown this one. There really isn’t a better way to set the tone than put pucks into the net, and he did that. His goal was his first of his pro career, and gives him three points in his first four games. There were questions about his transition, but he’s looking good so far.
- Christopher Gibson was in net, and stopped 37 of 41 shots on goal. He didn’t have an awful night, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it good either.
- Josh Leivo lead Toronto with five shots on goal. A lot of them came from a powerplay opportunity early in the third period that manifested into a five-on-three.
- The Marlies take on the Rockford IceHogs tomorrow at 3PM. It’s a home game.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com