I’m going to be upfront with you; this game between the Toronto Marlies and the Lake Erie Monsters wasn’t exactly one to phone home about. It was pretty low-event, nobody did anything particularly special, and ultimately, the Marlies lost 2-1. But truthfully, I wanted an excuse to point out the absurdity of a free coffee (Iced, no less) for a home victory, which apparently is a thing in Cleveland, so we may as well talk about the game.
The game was pretty quiet for much of its first half; the two teams combined for approximately twenty shots, and even an exchange of powerplays didn’t lead to very many scoring opportunities. But TJ Tynan broke the ice with seven minutes to go in the second period. Justin Holl pinned Kirby Rychel against the boards but the 21-year-old had the presence of mind to throw the puck in the direction of the net while Tynan had the presence of mind to move into the appropriate area, wait out Antoine Bibeau, and slip the puck around him.
Once again, board play worked against the Marlies in the third period, as the Monsters worked for the puck behind the Toronto net in the first minute of the third period. Toronto’s four skaters, shorthanded with Rich Clune in the box for a last-second hook in the prior period, were unable to prevent Lake Erie’s forecheckers from cycling the puck over to the point, and Michael Paliotta fired a wrist shot to double his team’s lead.
Here’s Nikita Soshnikov’s 10th goal of the season, Toronto’s only goal in a 2-1 loss to Lake Erie tonight. pic.twitter.com/Xy0ANc7Msw
— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) December 30, 2015
The Monsters continued to control the game, outshooting Toronto 12-5 over the next nineteen minutes. The Marlies did get one back in a similar fashion to their opponents, as Sam Carrick made a behind-the-net pass to Nikita Soshnikov which brought the Marlies within one with five minutes remaining, but they were only able to muster up one more shot on goal in the closing moments.
As far as standout players go tonight, Antoine Bibeau deserves a lot of credit for a solid game. The 28-save effort brings him to 0.889 on the year. That’s still far from great, but slowly but surely, he’s digging himself out of the bottom of the goaltending charts.
The loss brought the Marlies to 15-2-1 on the road this season and was their first regulation defeat on the road since October 24th. Despite consecutive losses, the team remains atop the league by points percentage, and will have a chance to build upon that on Wednesday night when they take on the Monsters at Ricoh Coliseum.