Marlies push back, ultimately lose to Rochester

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Photo Credit: @AmerksHockey / Twitter.com

For a while, it looked like the Toronto Marlies were going to have a repeat of yesterday’s shocking shutout loss to the Utica Comets. But tonight’s game against the Rochester Americans did have a few signs of life in it, even if it provided the same unwelcomed result, in the form of a 4-2 loss.

Alex Stalock’s first game in the Leafs organization got off to a rocky start when a point shot from Matt Donovan was redirected by Cole Schneider just over a minute into the first period. William Carrier extended the lead with an opportunistic rebound just six minutes later, putting the Marlies in a hole that didn’t reflect the eighteen shots they took in the first.

Carrier doubled up midway through the second period, stripping Andrew Campbell of the puck and dancing around Rinat Valiev to widen the gap to 3-0. It was icing on the cake for the Amerks, who had taken control of the entire period and had the results of the game practically in their hands.

The Marlies that the rest of the league are used to came out to play in the third period. Specifically, Connor Brown was the difference maker, putting two of his three shots from this game into the back of the net. His first goal left some people confused as to who buried the puck at first, but there was no doubt on the second; despite Stuart Percy’s presence in the penalty box, Brown was able to streak down the wing and beat Linus Ullmark with a deadly wrist shot to bring the game within one.

Toronto pressured hard to even up the score before the end of regulation, but it was all to no avail. Former Marlies forward Jerry D’Amigo popped home an empty-netter with 31 seconds remaining as the Amerks delivered a rare back-to-back defeat to the first overall powerhouse.

Serious credit should be given to Alex Stalock for his performance after a rocky first few minutes. Stalock shrugged off the first two goals against and ended up making 34 saves on 37 shots; a very respectable result.

With the defeat, Toronto moves to 43-12-4. Their 0.763 points percentage is the lowest that it’s been in months though it’s still well ahead of the 29 teams below them. Their 6-4 stretch is their worst ten game run of the year, which speaks volumes about the team’s success in 2015/16. Their goal differential remains at a league leading +80.

Toronto returns to the ice tomorrow to take on the Utica Comets, who shut them out 4-0 on Friday. That game starts at 3:00 PM.