Marlies rally against Crunch in School Day Roller Coaster

Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/

School day games are always interesting. The plus side is that you have a whole day ahead of you when they’re done and that they introduce a new generation of potential fans to the game. On the other hand, eight thousand screaming kids will make the early alarm you had to set to get down to the rink feel tame. 

What matters most is the hockey, though, and today’s game between the Toronto Marlies and the Syracuse Crunch was an interesting one, ending in a come-from-behind, 3-2 overtime victory for the blue and white.

The game started off on a bit of a heartwarming note, as Shane Conacher made his Marlies season debut by lining up against his brother Cory at the opening faceoff. That’s about as many smiles as you’d get out of the mention of Syracuse’s star forward, however, as the 27-year-old continued his long history of feasting on his hometown team, striking at the ten and fifteen-minute marks of the first period.

This left Toronto in a position where they would have typically needed to come out hungry in the second period. Instead, they had one of the worst twenty minute stretches they’ve had in a very long time, taking nearly thirteen minutes to get a shot on goal and getting outshot 12-1 over the course of the frame; and that’s with two powerplays one of which was a double minor. Thankfully for them, Garret Sparks pulled himself into a groove at this point and fended off all incoming traffic.

The good news was that things couldn’t get much worse in the third period. Toronto did one better, though, and came out looking revitalized; Brett Findlay put the team back in the game with a breakaway goal a little over a minute in, and with Mike Halmo in the box, Dmytro Timashov put home a Colin Smith shot that originally just missed to tie the game with ten minutes to go. The rally was almost spoiled just a few second later when Andrew Campbell took a double minor for spearing, but Syracuse took an offsetting minor, the Marlies killed off the two-minute difference and kept the momentum going into overtime.

Lightning struck twice against Tampa Bay’s affiliate in overtime as Findlay, at nearly the exact same time elapsed as his third-period goal, burying his seventh of the season off a feed from Justin Holl and Kerby Rychel to send the masses of children home happy as can be.

While the Marlies would have likely preferred to keep the loser point away from the Crunch, the end result looks very good for them still. They move to 0.556 (28-22-3-1) on the season, within striking distance of 1st and 2nd in the division, and up their goal differential to 20, which is drastically ahead of any other team in the North. They’ll look to build on this on Friday night when they take on the Binghamton Senators on the road. Puck drop for that game is at 7:00 PM.

  • The China Wall

    Jeff, do appreciate these Marlies’ write-ups.

    Even though the exciting Leafs’ season is the primary focus, still like to keep track of what is happening with the baby Buds.


  • LukeDaDrifter

    Brett Findlay (6) ASST: Kerby Rychel (24)

    Dmytro Timashov (11) ASST: Colin Smith (20), Travis Dermott (15) (PP)

    Brett Findlay (7) ASST: Justin Holl (8), Kerby Rychel (25)