Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
The worst thing that can happen to you during a hot streak is a gap of time to let you simmer down and cool off. That, to an extent, is what happened with the Toronto Marlies tonight, who after a week off, fell 5-3 to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday afternoon.
The first period of this game couldn’t have gone to a worse start for Toronto, as their skaters found themselves chasing in their own end multiple times in the opening minutes. Cory Conacher took advantage of a heavy screen in front of Garret Sparks and ripped a wrister into an open corner to put his team up. Thirty seconds later, Syracuse was at it again, with multiple aggressive forecheckers chasing a dumped puck and Tanner Richard actually turning the sequence into a goal.
To the Marlies’ credit, they responded hard, outshooting the Crunch an obscene 22-5 in the first period. Two of those shots went in to tie the game, as well; Dmytro Timashov redirected a point shot from William Wrenn at the nine-minute mark, and Trevor Moore converted on a feed from Seth Griffith with thirty seconds to go.
But Toronto started slow again, and Mike Halmo put his team back up with his 13th of the year in the opening seconds of the second period. This was a much more evenly fought frame for both teams, with shots, chances, and penalties exchanged, and eventually it was made even on goals as well when Griffith and Moore collaborated once again on Toronto’s third powerplay of the game.
The hope was that this would set the tone for a third period where the Marlies broke through the barrier and took control, but what happened was the opposite. Toronto was outshot 17-5, and within those shots, Conacher picked up his second of the night while Kevin Lynch bounced a tricky one off Sparks to add insurance.
With the loss, the Marlies fall back below a 0.500 record, slipping behind the Utica Comets in the North Division race. Their exact record is now 20-21-2-1, but they’ll have a chance to restore balance again in a grudge match against this same Syracuse team tomorrow at 1PM.