Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
After a late third-period rally against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms yesterday, the Toronto Marlies had their work cut out for them once again on Saturday afternoon. This time, they took on the Providence Bruins, who started the year off slow but have been one of the league’s best teams over the past few months. In a game where the lead changed five times, the Bruins were the ones who ended up on top with a 5-4 result.
The Marlies were quick to the score sheet after a shot by John Kurtz rebounded off of Eric Faille’s shoulder and past Zane McIntyre to put the Marlies up. It took the Bruins a while to respond in a period where Toronto outshot their opponents 16-12, and the Marlies almost went up further courtesy of a Brendan Leipsic wrist shot that ended up being ruled inconclusive. But with Stuart Percy in the box, Brandon DeFazio slipped home his sixteenth of the season to tie the game up.
Mark Arcobello responded hastily with a bit of a lucky wrist shot, just a minute later, but even he was almost immediately responded to by 22-year-old super-sniper Frank Vatrano, drawing a crowd of pushing and shoving afterward.
The intermission subdued the wave of scoring, but despite Toronto’s best efforts, Providence picked up their first lead of the game. While TJ Brennan went on a two-minute penalty vacation, a low chuck on net by DeFazio was redirected off of veteran Max Talbot’s stick and into Antoine Bibeau’s five-hole. Before the period could end, though, the Marlies restored balance. Faille generated an odd-man rush with Brett Findlay, and while the latter wasn’t able to get his entire stick on the bouncing puck, it was enough to beat McIntyre.
Toronto followed this up with a similarly lucky goal early in the third period, as a wraparound by Sam Carrick bounced off of a Boston defender and into a gaping net. The Bruins swiftly responded with not one, but two goals, as DeFazio picked up his second of the night followed by the game’s fifth lead-changing goal by Brian Ferlin. Though the Marlies had multiple powerplay opportunities in the final minutes, they had no success in converting any of them.
With the loss, the Marlies’ record moves to 45-15-5. They’ll now make the trip to Cleveland, where they’ll take on the Lake Erie Monsters in a Sunday afternoon game. Columbus’ AHL affiliate is one of the stronger teams in the West, with a 0.603 points percentage over 63 games (which could increase with a win against Manitoba tonight). Puck drop is at 3 PM.