For the first time in a couple of years, Ricoh Coliseum’s press box was completely full. It can get crowded, but rarely do you see a complete lack of empty seats. It’s no secret as to why, though; William Nylander was making his home debut for the Toronto Marlies. He didn’t turn heads last night (nobody up front did; it was a 3-0 loss, aver tall), but this was a chance to show off in front of his new audience. Unfortunately, it still wasn’t the result that he or his teammates wanted, as the Marlies lost 4-3 in overtime.
Toronto started off this period a little flat footed, something that Drayson Bowman made very obvious just two minutes in. Taking advantage of some poor defensive coverage, Bowman streaked in on a breakaway and scored on the game’s first shot. The Marlies began to snowball some momentum together, however, and eventually, Brandon Kozun tied the game up with a “Superman” style goal – a diving tip that beat Mike Condon. Matt Frattin was very close to following it up with a go-ahead goal, but Carter Ashton’s empty net-causing collision with Condon was identified as a penalty. The rest of the period was spent in the defensive zone, but didn’t include any more goals.
In the second, the Marlies seemed to regain their confidence, and the scoreboard reflected that. Just twenty seconds in, Carter Ashton scored his fourth of the year, and Matt Finn followed him with his first ever AHL goal about three minutes later. From there, the game was largely played in the neutral zone, with the occasional flared temper occurring. Late in the period, Maxime Macenauer brought the Bulldogs back in the game with a deflection.
The start of the third period was all Hamilton, and as things approached the mid-way point, they got their break. Gabriel Dumont fired a shot from distance that beat Antoine Bibeau to tie the game. They continued their momentum, but Bibeau kept things at bay and pushed the game into overtime.
The extra frame didn’t last very long, however, as Sven Adrighetto scored the game winner less than forty seconds in, giving Hamilton the win.
You know what? We give Tyler Biggs a lot of crap, and I can’t say that he’s given much reason for people to take those words back. But today? He looked like a strong physical presence, played pretty solidly defensively, and picked up an assist on Matt Finn’s goal.
- I, like pretty much everyone, was curious as to how William Nylander would look playing in Toronto against guys who weren’t scared of injury (preseason) or weren’t legal to drink (World Juniors). So far, while he doesn’t look like he lives for physicality, he doesn’t look timid either. He definitely looks agile, though; it’s amazing how good he is at dodging opponents. He played on a line with Greg McKegg and Matt Frattin today.
- Some thought that Nylander would end up on the point on the powerplay, but for now, it seems like
- Very solid attendance of 7513 today. Not sure if its the return from the road trip or Nylander that’s caused it; maybe a combination of both. Or just something to do with All-Star Weekend going down. Regardless of reason, it’s still nice to see.
- On a topic that isn’t involving a certain rookie Swede, Antoine Bibeau looked pretty decent tonight. Not spectacular but he kept the team involved pretty well for a guy that was on the latter half of his first back-to-back of the season. He made 27 saves on 31 shots.
- Four way tie for the shot lead today; Josh Leivo, Connor Brown, Viktor Loov, and Brendan Mikkelson all had three.
- The Marlies have now lost three straight, and it seems like their momentum from the prior hot streak has faded. Thankfully for them, they now have the all-star break to re-evaluate.
- Toronto plays their next game on Friday night against Utica.