Blurry Screencap via Utica Comets on Instagram
Nobody truly expects the Toronto Marlies to be invincible, especially with all of the team’s brightest young talent up with the Leafs, but that doesn’t stop the rare losses from stinging, even if just a little. Today’s might hurt more than others, though, as the team were shut out for the first time this season in a 4-0 loss to the Utica Comets.
The Comets, who are the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, opened up the scoring just three minutes of the game, courtesy of a four-on-four goal by Alex Grenier while Marlies captain Andrew Campbell and Comets forward Blair Jones sat in the box for coincidental slashing penalties later in the period as well, when Ronalds Kenins potted just his second goal of the season.
Interestingly the Marlies outshot Utica throughout the period, probably in a frantic effort to reverse the tides. History didn’t repeat itself in the second though the Utica goals did. Darren Archibald shoveled home his seventh goal of the season to put stretch the lead even further. Normally, the Marlies would be able to come back from this deficit, but nothing was clicking for the team as Joe Cannata brushed away everybody’s efforts. Archibald added one more extra-strength insurance marker to give his team the victory and the Marlies perhaps their worst loss of the year.
A few players put out particularly valiant efforts in an attempt to turn the tide. Eric Faille, for example, was called up from the Orlando Solar Bears yesterday, yet managed to pepper the crease with six shots on goal. Tobias Lindberg wasn’t far off with four of his own, nor was TJ Brennan with three attempts from the point. Antoine Bibeau also had a competitive, if unspectacular effort, stopping 24 of 28 shots against.
This was the first time the Marlies, who lead the league in goals with 227, have been shut out this year. In fact, it’s the first in over a season and a half; they were most recently shutout against the St. John’s IceCaps on November 18th, 2014. The last one before that? October 25th, against the very same Utica Comets, in Utica, by a score of 4-0. Go figure.
Toronto’s next game is tomorrow against the Rochester Americans. Puck drop is at 7:30 PM.