TORONTO– Playing at home for the first time since a successful two-game set in St John’s against the IceCaps, the Toronto Marlies lost on Tuesday night 4-3, in overtime, to the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit affiliate).
“That was a classic game coming off the road,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “I thought our guys were dopey and not quite focused through almost the whole game. It was like beating my head against the wall.”
Toronto trailed on three separate occasions as Brendan Smith, Brent Raedeke and Tomas Tatar each had goals for Grand Rapids before Landon Ferraro scored the winner in overtime.
Nazem Kadri led the Marlies with two goals and Ryan Hamilton added the other.
Kelsey Wilson had two assists while Jeff Finger, Simon Gysbers, Jerry D’Amigo and Darryl Boyce each had one.
Tom McCollum made 37 saves for his second win of the year as Mark Owuya turned aside 34 shots in defeat.
The Griffins went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Marlies scored once on six opportunities with the man advantage.
Toronto’s top ranked penalty kill was tested most in the final 13 minutes of regulation time as they had to kill off, in order, a double minor to Hamilton for a high stick, a hooking minor against Boyce and then another hooking minor against Hamilton.
“The guys that kill penalties were taking the penalties, that hurt a little bit,” said Eakins about all the short-handed time in the third period. “But, it’s tough, some of the calls that get made, I think they players are unsure of what’s a penalty sometimes.”
Leafs prospect Jesse Blacker didn’t put out his best performance and finished the night a team worst minus-2. However, Eakins refused to let it bother the rookie.
“I didn’t think Jesse had his best game,” said Eakins. “It was one of those nights that I was thinking of taking him off in different situations, but I decided to stick with him, encourage him and not rip him off the ice. He battled back and I do like that. But, Jesse Blacker has played better games.”
Finger recorded a point in his third straight game since returning to the line up, something Eakins touched on.
“He’s had this thing going on with some numbness in his arm all year so we’ve had to manage when we can play him and when we are not. It seems like it’s starting to alleviate itself and he’s got some consecutive games in there. He plays a hard game.”
Out of the line up for the game was leading scorer Mike Zigomanis, which had an effect on both sides of the special teams. But his absence is nothing to get bothered about.
“Ziggy’s day-to-day,” said Eakins. “He has a couple different things going on. He maybe could have played today but its’ just not the time of the season to push a guy like that in. My guess is he’ll be back in the line up next game.”
That next game will be this Friday when the Marlies play a rematch against the Griffins in Grand Rapids. Game time is 7pm
- The win snapped the Marlies six-game winning streak however they have still picked up points in eight straight games
- Nazem Kadri has five goals in his last three games
- Mark Owuya has only lost once in regulation time in seven starts
- Matt Caruana dressed for the first time since being called up from the ECHL Reading Royals
- Kenny Ryan sat out with an undisclosed upper-body injury
- Greg Scott had five shots on goal, including two breakaways, but couldn’t score
- Attendance was 4584