Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
If there’s one thing better than winning a professional hockey game, it’s winning it before lunch time. The Toronto Marlies did just that today, winning their first school day game of the year by a score of 3-1 in front of 8000 screaming children.
The game started off with Toronto in their typical overwhelming control, but interestingly, Binghamton were the ones who scored first. Travis Ewanyk initiated a wave nine minutes into the first period with a shot from an impossible angle which beat Garret Sparks, and left many wondering if the Senators were going to upset the Marlies for a third time this year.
That wonder went away in the span of a minute and a half. William Nylander unleashed his trademark wrister to beat Matt O’Connor for his 17th of the season just a minute later, and less than a minute after that, kids book author Zach Hyman gave the students another story to tell with a go-ahead deflection on a TJ Brennan point shot.
From there, momentum simmered down again. A slash by Nikita Soshnikov a few seconds later led to a pair of matching unsportsmanlike penalties to himself and the team, forcing the Marlies onto the penalty kill, and evening the tide once the game got back to 5-on-5.
That was no issue for Toronto, though, who were happy to run out the clock while Sparks pushed aside every other puck that headed his way. After Matt Frattin’s empty netter was waived off for an offside, Sam Carrick closed the game up with a more successful attempt. Personally, I think it would have been hilarious if Frattin scored on the team that technically controls his rights, but two points are more important than fun facts.
Those two points, by the way, give the Marlies 86 on the year. That’s 16 more than any other team in the league, and just one back of what was needed to clinch a playoff spot in their conference last season. Their goal differential improved to +80 as a result of the game while nobody else in the league is even halfway there. The Marlies play their next games this weekend, when they take on the Hershey Bears on Friday evening and Rochester Americans on Saturday afternoon.