The boats are gone, and hockey lives on once again at Ricoh Coliseum. After a three week hiatus due to trade show usage of the building, the Toronto Marlies returned home for a late afternoon matchup against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The team looked a little different than when they left, and for whatever reason, they added to that difference by wearing their away blue jerseys. What ultimately matters though is not the makeup of the team, but the result they put out, and that wasn’t a very good one, falling 3-1.
Toronto started off strong. Very strong, actually, taking 11 of the game’s first 13 shots. Mark Eaton taking a penalty nine seconds into the game helpeed that, but Toronto maintained this for the first ten minute sof the game. From that point on, Wilkes-Barre had control. For the rest of the first, the Marlies spent a lot of time in the box. Jake Gardiner came first. Dylan Yeo and Carter Ashton came next, going to the box 40 seconds a part, leaving a dramatic 5 on 3 scenario that Mark Owuya kept calm. Andrew Crescenzi, also went off for a hook before the period’s close.
The second saw a team that was more disciplined in terms of penalties, but maybe not as much in playstyle. Riley Holzapfel made the only two contributions to the scoresheet for the Penguins – a goal at the 11 minute mark, and a high sticking penalty at the 15 minute mark. Toronto made little use of the powerplay, and finished the period heavily outshot 19-3.
The goals started to trickle in midway through the third. After an unsuccesful early period attempt to capitalize on the man advantage, the Marlies got a second chance. Tim Connolly took advantage of the opportunity, tying the game. The even score wasn’t to last for long, though – Paul Thompson regaining the Penguins lead 59 seconds later. With seven minutes to go, Mike Zigomanis was the next player to head to the box, and unlike previous kills, the Penguins capitalized – this time, Adam Payerl put home his second of the year, widening the lead to two. Toronto had a powerplay in the final minute, but did nothing with it.
- Andrew Crescenzi and Jamie Devane made their AHL season debuts, put together on a line with Brad Ross. Nothing really to write home about here – the three combined for a couple of shots and a penalty.
- Mark Owuya started in goal for the Marlies, and had a stellar night, keeping them in the first late first and second periods. Even with three goals against, I was very impressed with his overall game.
- Jake Gardiner seemed unwilling to shoot the puck at some very opportunistic times. I have a feeling he may be here for more than just the one game.
- Tim Connolly has scored in every game he’s played for the Marlies thus far, with 3 in 3.
- At the end of the day, this team got outshot 31-17 in the last 50 minutes. The game looked close, but the quick Marlies start and Owuya’s play hide the truth. Beyond shots, Wilkes-Barre controlled the posession and had the bulk of the strong scoring chances.
- Worth noting – Ricoh was sold out for the 4th straight game, with the Marlies average attendance jumping to 7180.