Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
Sometimes, what you get out of life doesn’t always equal the effort you put into it. The Toronto Marlies can definitely attest to this tonight, as an overwhelming effort against the Hershey Bears turned into a rare multi-goal loss and just their tenth regulation defeat of the season. Despite outshooting the Caps affiliate 39-20, the end result was a 5-2 final.
Despite the complete and total control that the team displayed throughout the game, the warning signs came just two minutes in when Chris Bourque put the Bears up 1-0 with his 23rd of the season. Despite outshooting Hershey 14-3 in the first, the Marlies weren’t able to equalize.
That is, until the second period, where the team scored two goals in 1:10 to not only tie the game but jump ahead in it. Nikita Soshnikov grabbed the equalizer by crashing the net at full speed while Zach Hyman brushed aside a penalty to Rinat Valiev and picked up Sam Carrick’s rebound to net his thirteenth of the season.
Unfortunately for the Marlies, though, this was far from Garret Sparks’ finest night. Four minutes after the rally, Jakub Vrana’s wrist shot trickled through his pads to level the scoring once again, and with seven minutes to go in the period, Dustin Gazley’s breakaway attempt beat him cleanly. Sheldon Keefe, presumably unimpressed with the three goals allowed on just eleven shots, swapped out Sparks for Antoine Bibeau.
For a moment, it looked like the Marlies had tied the game late in the third period, as Valiev blasted a point shot past Dan Ellis to the delight of the fans and his teammates. It was called back, however, as Sam Carrick had high-sticked his man at the same time. Rather than getting an equalizer, the Marlies ended up on the penalty kill. This led to the opposite result, as Sean Collins delivered insurance to the opposition with his 13th.
After Madison Bowey found his way into the box in the game’s closing minutes, the Marlies had one last chance to make a push. They emptied their net with 3:40 to go and opted for the 6-on-4, but Gazley doubled up with an empty-netter to close the game off
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Marlies; which is about what you’d expect for a team pushing 0.800. Their record slips to 41-10-4 as a result, meaning that the Marlies finally join the rest of the AHL in having a double digit regulation loss count. They’ll have an opportunity to start building on the wins column again tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Rochester Americans at 3:00 PM.