In one of the most extraordinary twenty minutes of play in their history, the Toronto Marlies blew a three goal lead in the third period.
The Binghamton Senators struck seven times in the final frame, albeit with much help from the officials during this Saturday afternoon tilt at the Air Canada Centre.
The madness begun a mere thirty seconds into the third period with Patrick Sieloff crosschecking Brendan Leipsic and then Colin Greening. The latter had gone in to defend his team-mate but both headed to the box along with the Binghamton man
Roll forward another twenty seconds and Jack Rodewald sold a hit from Justin Holl, who was joined his two team-mates in the penalty box.
With two extra men, the Senators made little mistake with Jason Akeson netting his 15th of the season with a top shelf blast.
As the second penalty expired, Binghamton would score again to cut Toronto’s lead to 4-3.
A long range effort from Ben Harpur appeared to change direction in front and Antoine Bibeau was unable to make the save, despite a desperate diving attempt.
The indiscriminate calls weren’t done however, as Andres Johnsson was mysteriously called for high-sticking. A glove wash was about the worst infringement on that play but the Marlies ensured no damage was done by killing the two minutes that followed.
Toronto rarely threatened the visitors net in the five or so minutes that followed, still reeling from the shock of what had transpired.
The pivotal moment of the game would occur with eight minutes remaining – with another baffling decision from the officials leaving all those connected with Toronto absolutely furious.
Rinat Valiev clashed with Akeson just outside the Marlies blue line on the right boards.
You could accuse the Toronto man of interference but Akeson certainly hauled down the defenseman.
Inexplicably play was allowed to continue as the Binghamton forward drove inside the offensive zone before rifling home the tying goal from low in the right circle.
What added to the home’s team’s anger was a lack of calls for them immediately before the goal and in previous moments between the third and fourth markers for the Senators.
Numerous crosschecks and hooks were allowed to go unpunished and Toronto’s players had now lost the plot.
Unable to regain their composure, the Marlies suffered an utter meltdown from this point on and it was merely a matter of time before the visitors struck again and took the lead.
Shortly after Leipsic had struck the post during a rare foray into Binghamton’s zone, a catastrophic error from Kerby Rychel proved costly.
Max McCormick was the recipient of the turnover and though Bibeau stopped the initial effort, no Toronto player was close enough to Nick Paul to deny him scoring on the rebound.
Only eleven further seconds elapsed before the Senators took a 6-4 lead.
Chad Nehring scoring from a bad angle with a backhand effort that Bibeau would want back.
The scoring was far from finished and it was yet another brain fart of epic proportions from the home team. With Bibeau pulled for the extra attacker, Toronto were casual with the puck inside their own zone, gifting Rodewald with the easiest goal he’ll have scored this season.
At the resumption of play, all hell broke loose as Rychel went after Sieloff. Noted thug McCormick was the third man in to the altercation, as he flew on top of both players.
The officials were quickly in to try and intervene but McCormick was seemingly possessed. Punching anyone within an arm’s reach, he connected with officials at least four times and should hopefully pay a big price for his reckless actions.
With Rychel tabbed for instigating and Greening having also dropped the gloves, Toronto found themselves back on the penalty kill.
Steve Oleksy was rightly called for delay of game and the Marlies found themselves down by two men once again. Nehring tipped a shot from Brandon Gormley for his second of the game and Binghamton’s eighth, which finished off the scoring.
The third period shenanigans belied what had been an efficient forty minutes of play from the home team. Toronto led 2-0 heading into the first intermission – out-shooting Binghamton 15-6 in the process.
Kerby Rychel opened the scoring as the Marlies struck with two extra men. A power move from the side of the net and he jammed the puck by Chris Dreidger.
Travis Dermott netted the second after Mike Sislo’s shot had been blocked following a set-up from Johnsson.
The middle frame was a more even affair but Toronto were still able to net twice.
The teams would share a pair of goals inside of a minute. Seth Griffith scored his fifth of the year with a one-timer from the left circle, was responded to by Chris Carlyle, who tipped a shot from Paul.
A trademark power play goal from Mike Sislo restored the Marlies three goal led, thought it would prove futile with what followed.
A thoroughly disappointing defeat for Toronto but the nature of such reverses has the effect of rallying a team together and providing extra focus.
No off day for the Marlies who practised Sunday and get back to action with Rochester visiting Ricoh Tuesday evening.
Post Game Notes:
Kerby Rychel scored his fifth goal in as many games.
Mike Sislo recorded his third multi-point effort in just his seventh game for Toronto.
Cal O’Reilly registered his second multi-assist game.
Seth Griffith extended his points streak to five games. The goal was his first for a month, and broke a twelve game scoreless spell.