Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
Sometimes, you have to beat the best to be the best. Or, if you’re the Toronto Marlies, you take on the second best to remind the rest of the league who’s in charge. Despite falling behind 2-0 heading into the third period, the blue and white responded with four unanswered goals to cap a dominant game off on a high note.
The two teams started off the festivities with an exciting first period. Brendan Leipsic took the crowd out of their seats with a dipsie-doodle play in the opening seconds, and while he was denied by the leg of Matt Murray, it set the tone for the action. Toronto took 19 shots on Murray in the opening twenty minutes, but much like the twelve chances that Wilkes-Barre had, none were successful.
The Penguins weren’t as kind to Bibeau int he second. After Connor Brown headed to the box for a high stick, Wilkes-Barre’s powerplay went to work. Anton Zlobin, without a clear opportunity available to him, chipped the puck towards Bibeau and picked up his own rebound to put the Penguins up a minute into the period. Before the second minute could pass, the opponents doubled up; this time, Kael Mouillierat stripped the puck away from Andrew Campbell and wired a slapshot above Bibeau’s blocker.
The Marlies aren’t a team that easily roll over and die, however. In the opening minute of the third period, TJ Brennan took advantage of an offensive zone faceoff win, ripping a shot from the left side as Zach Hyman screened Murray to snap the shutout. By the time the period’s halfway mark came along, Toronto were back at it; this time, a sprawling Connor Brown tied up the game with his sixth of the season.
With seven minutes to go in the third, Toronto finished turning the deficit into a lead. While the Marlies were concerned about the Penguins possibly having too many men on the ice, they turned the poor change into an odd man rush. William Nylander had lots of options to work with as he carried the puck, but decided that the best one was himself and beat Murray for his 16th of the season. Brett Findlay added insurance shortly thereafter, tapping in a cross-crease pass from Hyman to complete the 4-2 victory.
The Marlies will now get just a few hours rest before taking on the Portland Pirates at 1:30 PM tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.