If all good things must come to an end, surely the bad ones will have the same fate as well. The Toronto Marlies certainly came into today hoping that would be the case, entering the game in the midst of their longest losing streak in team history. Unfortunately for them, the end is till a ways away, as the Lake Erie Monsters handed them a 4-1 defeat in front of the fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies did an unusual thing to start this game – they took control. For a significant chunk of the first period, the Monsters were kept away from Toronto’s defensive zone, and a little more than five minutes in, the home team capitalized. Lead by a shot from Ryan Rupert, Brad Ross deflected a puck past Roman Will and opened the scoring. Thanks in no small part to a couple of penalties, the momentum tilted the other way for the bulk of the remaining period, but the score stayed the same.
The second period was a relatively dull one; the two teams combined for just fourteen shots. But there was one that mattered; a confusing one with two minutes to go in the second period. A centering pass was converted into an opportunity by Trevor Cheek, and after a bit of a scramble, the puck eked its way past Christopher Gibson and into the net to tie the game, setting up an equal footing for the third.
After Cheek headed to the box early in the third period, the Marlies found themselves on what seemed to be an important powerplay. Thirty seconds into it, a scramble occurred and Josh Leivo batted in a loose puck to seemingly give the Marlies the lead. The referees, however, felt differently about it and waved the goal off, correctly pointing out that Sam Carrick slid it in with his hand. From this point on, a downward spiral ensued. Another powerplay opportunity backfired on the team as Michael Schumacher capped off an odd man rush, and Sam Henley followed with an insurance marker a few minutes later. Former Leafs draft pick Kenny Ryan added an empty netter to seal the deal.
I’m going to go with Brad Ross. He helped set a positive tone in the early moments of all three periods – his goal in the first, a breakaway to open the second, and a draw penalty early in the third period. He made his presence known on the ice, something that Gord Dineen had high praise for after the game.
- David Broll had a really good scrap with Daniel Maggio in the first period. Not sure what the final punch count was, but it was probably more than what was thrown by the martial arts kids on the big screen in the first intermission.
- Christopher Gibson stopped 33 of 36 shots. You can’t really pin this loss on him – he had a solid game.
- Brandon Kozun and Stuart Percy co-led the team with four shots on goal. To be expected from guys who will be back with the Leafs pretty soon.
- Just a reminder that this is the longest losing streak in Marlies history – now by a two game margin.
- Toronto gets their next chance to get back on track on Tuesday, against Grand Rapids.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com