When you’re in a slump, it can be incredibly hard to break out of and you need something to go your way.
Trailing 3-2 with seconds to play and an extra attacker on the ice, Toronto managed to engineer one last gasp chance. Carrick all alone in front had almost an empty cage to fire into but as he took his shot to tie the game his stick shattered.
Nine times out of ten, 99 times out of a 100 perhaps, that’s a goal and we head into overtime. Perhaps the Marlies would then have broken this winless streak in extra hockey and turned things around.
Those are the small margins in hockey and a part of what makes the sport what it is.
Toronto will be kicking themselves after leading for almost 35 minutes of this game as they went toe-to-toe with the hottest team in the AHL right now (no pun intended).
A fast paced a physical opening ten minutes favoured the Marlies who were doing a good job of stifling Adirondack’s offense. Toronto would open the scoring on a basic play they haven’t done enough of this season. Abbott from the left wing, sent a low shot towards the net which brought a rebound off the pads of Joni Ortio and into the wheelhouse of Mikelsson to notch his first of the season.
The line of Abbott-Carrick-Frattin was looking a real threat with Carrick especially a man on a mission. He was unlucky not to open the scoring while the Marlies were down a man. He dangled the pants off the last Flames defenseman but Ortio pulled off a wonderful glove save to deny him a marker that would have been a contender for goal of the season.
Leading going into the second, Toronto were determined not to let their guard down in a period that has given them so much cause for concern. Carrick sped down the right wing in the early going but his effort and Abbott’s and the resulting rebound were again brilliantly turned aside by Ortio. Their only power play of the game came during the middle frame but would bring little joy as usual. However back at even strength and they created more chances. The best perhaps falling to Devane but he fired wide. As Adirondack grew more into the game Gibson had to be at his very best to keep the lead intact through forty minutes.
The lead wouldn’t last a minute into the third period as Adirondack tied up the game on a neat play from behind the net that was far too easy from the Marlies point of view. Hanowski was left with the task of tapping home the puck for his eight of the season. Toronto had to kill a penalty following the goal as the ice tilted in favour of the home team for five minutes. To the Marlies credit, they stuck to their task well and retook the lead at the seven minute mark. A beautiful goal which saw Brown and Leivo combine to set up McKegg, whose backhand finish was a joy to watch.
As the Flames pushed back, Gibson had to make a dandy pad stop to deny Emile Poirier, who was all alone at the has marks of being the recipient of a tape-to-tape feed. The Marlies lead on this occasion failed to last five minutes as the home team capitalised on the power play. Vause with speed down the right wing opened the Marlies up and his cross crease pass was tipped home by that man Hanowski again. Despite being out-shot in the final frame the Marlies did create chances and none better than Bodie who slid a pass to Loov waiting backdoor, but the Swedish defenseman failed to find the net when it looked easier to score.
Toronto’s luck or lack thereof wasn’t helped by an iffy call against them, as after a scrum in front, Carrick was called for goaltender interference. You just had the feeling Adirondack would make it pay and a wraparound attempt by Wolf, produced a rebound that Arnold couldn’t fail to score from.
Then followed the heartbreak that saw the Marlies record a franchise record they won’t want to remember. Eight straight losses for the baby buds.
Post Game Notes:
Special teams proved the difference tonight in another encounter with not enough shots fired. Adirondack were 2/5 while Toronto were held on a single man advantage.
Just 23 shots for the Marlies. You don’t need me to tell you that’s nowhere near good enough right now.
Sam Carrick had his best game for a long while. He must wonder how he didn’t get his name on the score sheet in this one.
Christopher Gibson has another fantastic game. He showed signs of frustration though, coming out of his crease to swing punches at Adirondack’s Wolf and a take a huge slash at another forward late in the game. He must wonder what he needs to do to record a victory.
Greg McKegg continues to be the flag bearer offensively. Points in seven of his last eight games and leads the team with seven goals.