There’s something about the Texas Stars that the Toronto Marlies just can’t figure out. I mean, this goes for a lot of AHL teams, but even as the team has regressed from Calder Cup Champions to just a borderline playoff team, their ability to control games against the Blue and White is pretty bonkers. For most of this one, it was more of the same, and it ended in a 3-1 loss for Toronto.
As you would expect, the Stars opened up the scoring in this one, though it wasn’t without controversy. Midway through a period where Texas had taken over the shot count, Jamie Oleksiak took yet another crack at filling the net. Kevin Henderson got his stick on it and beat Christopher Gibson, which the Marlies contested was done from too high of an angle. The goal stood, however, and was the only one of the period.
Toronto rebounded a bit in the second period period, shifting the flow of the game back slightly into their own court. It was a high-event period, with the two teams combining for twenty four shots, but the sides kept penalties and whistles to a minimum and didn’t convert on any of their opportunities, leading to a quick transition into the third period.
In that final frame, the wheels fell off quickly. With Connor Brown in the box Scott Glennie finished off a cross-crease one timer to widen the gap, and just thirty seconds later, Eric Faille blew past Eric Knodel and Stuart Percy before tucking a pretty goal past Gibson to make it 3-0. The Marlies pulled their goalie with four minutes to go, and it worked out to an extent, as Brendan Mikkelson snapped Jussi Rynnas’ shutout bid. The Marlies went on a 9-0 shot run to close the game, but it wasn’t enough.
Let’s go with a semi-cop out and say anybody in the top six who was sent out for the final minutes. The Marlies absolutely poured it on with an empty net and didn’t let Texas into their zone for several minutes, which allowed them to take a boatload of shots. It honestly looked better than most of the powerplays they’ve had over the course of the season.
- Christopher Gibson started in net for the Marlies today, and was really good for the first two periods. I’d even go as far to say that he had a solid game overall, as those were two high percentage shots. He stopped 29 of 32.
- I’ve noticed that William Nylander is starting to get a little more creative in the past few games. I think now that he’s getting used to his teammates and rink, he’s trying to get back to some of the things that made him such a draw to begin with. No points today, though.
- Leading the team in shots was Sam Carrick, who put five pucks on net. He’s developing a serious amount of volume again, similar to what happened before he got hot last year.
- Stuart Percy has been back from his upper-body injury for two games now. Hasn’t been overly impressive, but I’m not looking too much into it just yet.
- Not a huge crowd today; an announced attendance of 5183.
- The Marlies play their next game tomorrow, against the Charlotte Checkers. They go from facing former Toronto goaltender Jussi Rynnas, to probably facing former Toronto goaltender Drew MacIntyre, which is kinda neat.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com