Griffins outlast Marlies in shootout
The Toronto Marlies entered yesterday afternoon’s game with smiles across the locker room. Toronto entered their game against the Griffins after a big win over their rival Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday night.
The first period was a fairly slow one with neither team dominating in shots and both teams remaining fairly disciplined with the exception of two Grand Rapids penalties. Just under five minutes into the frame Toronto found twine first with newcomer Leo Komarov taking a great pass from Joe Colborne and one-touching it past Grand Rapids goaltender Thomas McCollum. The goal was Komarov’s first career AHL goal. Toronto led 6-5 in shots at the end of the frame.
The second period was much more entertaining, with play buzzing in both directions. At 4:47 Mike Kostka found the net when Carter Ashton’s centering pass bounced off McCollum and right to Kostka, who snapped his stick with the shot. Ashton and Kenny Ryan drew the assists, putting the Marlies up 2-0. Things were going well, until Greg Scott took a slashing penalty, then the game began to snowball. Just a minute into the powerplay Gustav Nyquist, assisted by Tomas Tatar, beat Jussi Rynnas for the Griffins first of the game. Rynnas made his second straight start this season after shutting out Hamilton on Saturday. Nyquist’s first of the season brought the Griffins to within one at 8:18 of the second. Just over a minute later, Jesse Blacker went to the box for cross-checking, however the Grand Rapids powerplay wouldn’t last long as Joakim Andersson took a cross-checking penalty a minute later. The Marlies re-gained their two goal lead with Korbinian Holzer’s 1st of the season off of assists from Joe Colborne and Greg McKegg. After some four-on-four Jesse Blacker jumped out of the box like a rocket and nearly scored drawing yet another Grand Rapids penalty. Brennan Evans tripped Blacker on a breakaway giving the Marlies a 5-on-3 powerplay. That would be the turning point in the game as the Marlies failed to convert on the key PP and with Grand Rapids pressuring it wasn’t going to take long. Mike ZIgomanis went to the box with just over 5 minutes left in the frame giving the Griffins a powerplay. On the man advantage, Thomas Tatar beat Rynnas for his 1st of the season, bringing the game back to within one. The second period ended with a combined 12 minutes in penalties handed out and the shots 18-15 in favor of the Marlies.
The third period didn’t start the way the Marlies had hoped with Gustav Nyquist potting his second of the season and his second of the game tying the game up at 3 in the early going. The rest of the 3rd was uneventful, leading the game to overtime. Overtime solved nothing leading to a shootout that saw all three Toronto shooters miss while all three Grand Rapids players found the back of the net giving them a 4-3 win.
• The powerplay was another concern for the Marlies, they went 0/6
o Toronto has struggled all season long on the powerplay, Dallas Eakins needs to shake things up and fast
• Jussi Rynnas made 28 saves in the loss; he had another strong game.
The Marlies pack their bags and head out on the road to begin an 8 game road trip starting on Friday in Hamilton.
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