Marlies lose in chippy game against Crunch


The Toronto Marlies haven’t had much luck in reversing their misfortunes over the past few weeks. Even when it looks like the team is making major strides towards success, something gets in the way and keeps them from breaking back through again. Tonight, they fell 5-4 to the Syracuse crunch, meaning the push back to 0.500 will have to wait another week.

Syracuse was all over Toronto throughout the first period, dominating the zone time and making life hectic for Antoine Bibeau. Matt Taormina was the first to actually make something of it, though, firing a point shot through a carefully placed screen to put the Tampa Bay Lightning affiliate ahead with two minutes remaining in the first period.

The Crunch widened the gap just fifteen seconds into the second thanks to a goal from former Marlies forward Jeremy Morin, but Toronto wasn’t going to go away quietly. Four minutes into the period, Brendan Leipsic pushed forward Brendan Leipsic’s original pass and found an open Byron Froese, who made no mistake in burying his 15th goal of the season. Not long after, Tony Cameranesi took a puck previously touched by Rich Clune and Frank Corrado into the boards, grinded his way through his opponents, and knocked in his own rebound to tie the game up. 

Toronto seemed poised to come out of the period as leaders a short while after, when Brendan Leipsic, seconds after the end of a 5-on-3 powerplay, finally buried a one-timer handed to him by Andrew Nielsen. This came after minutes of constant pressure, at that time more than fended off by Adam Wilcox. But once again, Taormina came to the rescue of his team, firing another cannon from the point while Corrado sat in the box.

The opening minute was cruel to the Marlies once again in this one. A scramble in front of Antoine Bibeau was solved by Yanni Gourde, putting Syracuse in the leader’s chair once again. They never shied away from it again, as Tanner Richard added an odd bouncing insurance goal while Brett Findlay sat in the box, and while Trevor Moore set up Cameranesi for a second goal to make things interesting, Toronto couldn’t get any closer to that.

Before we wrap this up, I want to touch on the chippiness in this game. By “chippiness” I mean inexcusable play on Syracuse’s part; something like the above would be taken as a player losing it as a one off, which was the initial headshake and shrug I gave Jake Dotchin. But then he came out of the box from his roughing minor and did this, which went unpenalized:

Now, I don’t know if this will make it to the AHL’s player safety department, but I would hope so. Both incidents could be left as “dirty, but it happens” separately, but that they happened one shift after another from the same player is pretty uncool. Kapanen was injured from the latter hit; Sheldon Keefe mentioned after the game that he has no update and doesn’t expect him to play tomorrow. There was also this cross check on Andreas Johnsson that was just icing on the cake, with everything concerned:

It just isn’t a good look for Syracuse, who have skilled players and probably don’t have to stoop to this style of play. Anyway, the loss brings the Marlies to 15-18-2-1 on the season, and a 0.458 record. The team is two games away from the half-way point of the season, so if they’re going to get back into the top eight in the east (currently St. John’s at 0.554), they need to act fact. Tomorrow ould be a good start; they take on the Rochester Americans at 5:00 PM at Ricoh Coliseum.