Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
Normally, a 0.757 team taking on a 0.485 team wouldn’t be considered a matchup worth putting emphasis on, but when it’s the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Toronto Marlies, that rule is broken. The two teams have been among the best in the league in controlling play late in the game, which made this a more promising matchup than the standings showed; it was too, but it ended in a narrow regulation defeat for the home team.
Scoring in this game took quite some time to pick up, so you can imagine that there wasn’t much of it. It took until there was nearly five minutes remaining in the second period for either team to strike; in this case, the Marlies got the icebreaker courtesy of Tony Cameranesi. Doing what he could with a puck sent to him by Frank Corrado, the rookie went wide to the blocker side of Tristan Jerry and roofed a shot from an impossible-looking angle to put Toronto ahead.
He didn’t have much support to follow that, though. While Toronto mustered up 28 shots on goal, Cameranesi’s was the only one to beat a confident and collected Tristan Jarry. On the other side of the ice, Garre Sparks was riding six consecutive periods of shutout hockey, but had that snapped when Travis Dermott, looking to get rid of a puck in the corner after falling, threw it to the middle of the ice and put Jake Guentzel in perfect position to take his time and place his shot. Even still, it seemed like Toronto might’ve been able to drag the game into overtime, but in a surprising turn of events, the hero of the game was Tom Sestito, who also found himself enough time and space to pick a corner with three minutes and change to go.
Toronto’s effort in the third period ultimately came to haunt them. While they played the Penguins impressively close in the opening two, equalling them in shots with 21 each, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outfired them at a 13-7 rate in the final twenty. Eventually, some of those are going to go in, and when some of those come from dangerous spots, that risk is amplified.
With thoe loss, the Marlies fall to 15-17-2-1; so make that record 0.471, rather than 0.485. Toronto needs to win both their games to close out the week to quickest get back to 0.500; those come on Friday night against Syracuse on the road, and Saturday night against Rochester at home.