Sheldon Keefe’s quote after the Rochester defeat perfectly summed up the past week for the Toronto Marlies.
“Anything that we got, we had to earn. Anything they got, they got it handed to them.”
Despite playing well in stretches and competing against some of the better team’s in the league, Toronto lost three straight games by a single goal margin. During every game they presented the opposition numerous opportunities through individual errors and that ultimately cost them points.
Toronto’s power play, which has bailed them out on so many occasions this season, failed to register on 13 chances. The penalty kill continues to improve statistically but the two power plays goals allowed in Syracuse was the difference between winning and losing.
The Marlies are now rooted to the foot of the North Division and their 0.446 points percentage see’s them placed 28th overall.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 2 @ Toronto Marlies 1
Toronto matched up well against the league leading WBS Penguins but would ultimately fall to a narrow defeat.
It was the visitors who began the better, but thanks to Garret Sparks there was no score through the opening twenty minutes.
Undoubtedly Toronto had a little luck as the visitors would hit the iron on three occasions, but there was nothing fortunate about the way the opening goal was scored.
Tony Cameranesi beating Tristan Jarry top shelf with a wicked wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle. The Marlies could have been further ahead after two periods should Andreas Johnsson had taken his opportunity on a partial breakaway.
After an excellent penalty kill early in the final frame, Toronto contrived to gift their visitors a tying goal. Travis Dermott with the giveaway to Jake Guentzel, who was unchallenged as he scored his 20th goal of the season.
Scoring opportunities were at a premium and it looked as if the game was heading toward overtime. That was until a cheap turnover from Colin Greening and an ill-advised check from Viktor Loov, presented WBS with a 2-on-1 rush. Tom Sestito made no mistake, as he fired home from the slot with three minutes remaining.
Toronto’s best chance to score came in the dying seconds but neither Colin Smith or Tobias Lindberg could apply the finishing touch.
Friday, January 13, 2017 Toronto Marlies 4 @ Syracuse Crunch 5
Toronto road struggles continued in an ill-tempered affair against the North Division leaders.
Heavily out-played in the first period, Toronto were fortunate to only find themselves trailing by a solitary goal.
The home team were up 2-0 just 12 seconds into the middle frame and should have pulled further ahead at the three minute mark.
From out of nowhere Toronto struck twice to tie up the game inside a four minute span.
Byron Froese opening the Marlies account before a fine individual effort from Tony Cameranesi levelled the score.
With a little over six minutes to play Brendan Leipsic completed the comeback as he netted a go-ahead marker. The second period was littered with nasty hits and cheap shots, Syracuse the main protagonists as they took advantage of a three-man officiating crew who looked out of their depth.
Jake Dotchin was the man at the helm, as he threw two punches at Andrew Nielsen, with the rookie unable to respond due to being held by Tanner Richard.
Assessed a roughing call, Dotchin’s first action following his exit from the box was to target Kasperi Kapanen with a late and low hit, that ended the winger’s involvement.
Some more indifferent officiating handed the Crunch a two man advantage which they took advantage of through Matt Taormina.
The home team surged ahead to a two goal advantage inside seven minutes of the third period. A bad line change costing Toronto the first of those and Syracuse netted a second power play goal.
A second strike from Tony Cameranesi brought the Marlies within one but they struggled for offense, managing just seven shots in the third period as they slipped to another defeat.
Saturday, January 14, 2017 Rochester Americans 3 @ Toronto Marlies 2
This was a game that the Toronto Marlies should have won and in convincing style.
A failure to be ruthless in front of goal, a stuttering power play and a penchant for individual errors meant it was the visitors who clinched a vital two points.
Toronto utterly controlled the opening 15 minutes and netted first through a fine individual goal from Colin Greening.
Unable to build upon their lead, the home team gifted the visitors some chances toward the end of the period but Antoine Bibeau stood tall.
On their first foray of the middle frame, Rochester tied the came courtesy of some poor defensive play, Casey Nelson firing through traffic.
But not for Bibeau, the game may have been out of sight as countless turnovers presented the Amerks with a host of opportunities.
It would be an error that finally gifted the visitors a lead, Trevor Moore the culprit and Justin Bailey capitalised with a top draw finish, giving Bibeau no chance.
Early in the third period the Amerks could have quickly taken the game away from the home team.
A turnover from Andrew Nielsen led to a breakaway for Cal O’Reilly and that was followed up by a power play for the visitors. Bibeau stood tall however and still Toronto only trailed by one tally.
Toronto finally found their feet at the eight minute mark and created some opportunities.
Brendan Leipsic, Andres Johnsson, Brett Findlay, Andrew Campbell and Greening looking for his second all went close but Ullmark wasn’t for passing.
The game appeared dead and buried went Rochester struck a third with five minutes remaining. William Wrenn with the turnover and Jean Dupuy scored his first of the season.
Sixty seconds later and Toronto have he home fans hope. With Bibeau pulled for the extra attacker, Leipsic was the man to blast home from the right side.
He almost repeated the trick on his next shift but was unable to handle a bullet of a pass from Travis Dermott.
That was as close as Toronto would get despite pulling Bibeau once again with 80 seconds to play.
Brendan Leipsic recorded four points including his 25th assist of the season
Tony Cameranesi led the way with three goals and could easily have had himself a hat-trick against Syracuse. He’s consistently been one of Toronto’s better forwards since his recall from Orlando
Frank Corrado has now finished his conditioning stint with Marlies, after playing seven games in two weeks. He began strongly but became less impressive but the end of the loan. That can be put down to leading defensemen in ice-time and so many games in a short space of time after a long-layoff.
Two points for Byron Froese included his 15th goal of the season.
Garret Sparks put in a decent performance against Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and certainly wasn’t at fault for either of the two goals scored in the third period. He would have played in Saturday’s game had he not been called upto the Leafs. He’s been re-assigned to the Marlies ahead of a long week of practise and an upcoming three-in-three weekend.
Antoine Bibeau’s torrid record continues – having just won a single game from his last eleven starts. He was hung out to dry in both outings this weekend.
Travis Dermott is still finding his way after injury. He was given extra responsibility during the final minutes of the Rochester game and almost assisted in tying it up late. Two assists this past week were his first points of 2017 but he’s yet to score his first professional goal
Tobias Lindberg was hurt in the first period following a hit by Dan Catenacci and would fail to return for the rest of the game. Injury appeared to be upper body and possibly favoured his left arm.
Kasperi Kapanen is out indefinitely according to Sheldon Keefe. Unconfirmed reports over the weekend were that it’s an ankle injury of some kind.
Tobias Lindberg has joined Kapanen on the sidelines, having suffered an upper body injury. No word on the exact nature or extent of his problem.
Toronto have recalled Eric Faille as cover in the forward position and he becomes the third player from Orlando to be on the current roster.
Also recalled is defenseman Willie Corrin, who had been re-assigned by Toronto from Orlando to Brampton on December 4.
Rinat Valiev, Viktor Loov and Ty Stanton were all absentee’s over the weekend and Frank Corrado will be re-joining the Leafs.