A return to familiar surroundings could not bring an end to the slump the Marlies are in right now as they were comprehensively thumped by their QEW rivals in a Sunday matinee encounter.
Seven straight losses now for the baby buds and after having endured some tight one goal losses, their offensive woes were made worse by defensive errors, as the Bulldogs tallied five times.
Toronto almost took an early lead as Devane was denied by a fine reflex save from Mike Condon on a set-up from Watling, which looked like a goal in real time. The play quickly switched down the other end of the ice and Andrighetto in on a breakaway was equally brilliantly denied by Antoine Bibeau. A video review was called for on Devane’s effort but with the evidence inconclusive, the no goal call stood.
A Hamilton power play followed and Toronto were chasing shadows, not touching the puck until the man advantage had almost ended. Unusually a very non aggressive penalty kill from the home team who relied on Bibeau to bail them out with another fine stop. Hamilton would open the scoring but not before a great shift by Carrick, who was causing havoc behind the net and teed one up for Booth whose effort could only find the iron. It was a poor team goal from the Marlies standpoint as Hamilton somehow engineered a 2 on 1 break with four white jerseys in the vicinity, with Macenauer ignoring his partner Sorkin, beating Bibeau slightly too easily, with the Toronto net minder going down a little too early on the play. It almost became a lot worse on a resulting Marlies power play as Dumont stormed away on a short-handed break and wheeled away in celebration thinking he had Bibeau beaten. The officials waived it off on the ice and then on video review at the next whistle.
Out-shot 15-7, Toronto were desperate for a good start to the middle frame and from the off Carrick once more set-up Booth who this time found the crossbar and then the meshing behind the goal. It wouldn’t get any better than that, as the second period once more reared their ugly head. A turnover induced by a slightly unlucky bounce set Hamilton away on another odd man rush and rookie Hudon made no mistake on a feed from de la Rose. Before the halfway marker of the game it would be 3-0 and perhaps the worst goal of the net from the Marlies standpoint. Sven Andrighetto cruising his way through the centre of the ice, past three Marlies before easily slotting home. The game was as good as gone at that point with Hamilton controlling the ebb and flow.
By the time the third period came around it was a matter of pride for the Marlies and their fans.
I imagine there must have been some harsh words said in the dressing room as Toronto came out flying , finally able to sustain some pressure in Hamilton’s end. It would take just 1:06 of play in the final frame to get on the board and it was back to simple hockey. Abbott shooting low from the right side and the rebound from Condon’s pad stop went horizontally across his crease and despite the acute angle, Matt Frattin put the puck home with a nifty backhand finish. The spring in the step induced by a goal was flattened soon after as Matt Frattin nullified the power play his team was on. Just as Frattin’s penalty had ended Hamilton made sure of victory with a laser like shot from Bennett just inside the blue line, found it’s way through a ton of traffic in front of Bibeau. To Toronto’s credit they kept trying to push forward and were unfortunate not to halve the deficit.
Carrick and Booth combining once more but Condon was excellent on both efforts and he then somehow denied Brown after Watling’s cross crease pass. The push forward also left gaps as the back and T.J Hensick, sent away by de la Rose, was only denied making it five by another fantastic save by Bibeau who turned it away with his pads The fifth would come with under two to play. Sorkin’s power play marker, his second goal of the season sealed the deal on Hamilton’s fourth win in five games and second straight over the Marlies this weekend.
Post Game Notes:
David Booth looked great through his two starts with the Marlies and was I’m not exaggerating when I say he could have had 4-5 goals instead of one. Conditioning stint worked well for him and should be ready to go for Leafs now.
Matt Frattin hasn’t played much hockey of late. A slightly better game for him today and a nice finish. Has proven himself a goal scorer in previous seasons so hope this is a start of things to come.
Not playing were Greg McKegg who is “banged up”, Stuart Percy or Petter Granberg, who both according to Dineen are longer term absentees.
With Holzer called up with Booth, I would not be surprised to see call-ups for Knodel and/or Kessel from Orlando. Ryan Rupert is also next on the ladder regarding forward call-ups.
Marlies have now lost seven straight (0-5-2) and only managed to score more than twice in one of those defeats.
Next up for Toronto is a road game in Adirondack. The Flames have won eight straight and scored 27 goals in that span, as well as having won their last six home games.