TORONTO– This past weekend the Toronto Marlies skated away with one victory in two games hosted at the Ricoh Coliseum, despite their team lacking offensive production in both.
“We have guys that have a lot more offence to give,” said head coach Dallas Eakins on Saturday. “When you’re not putting up the numbers, you need to have second efforts and third efforts and people weren’t willing to do that.”
On Friday Toronto only had 16 shots on goal, including just two in the second period, but they defeated the visiting Oklahoma City Barons 2-0, backed behind Jussi Rynnas’ solid play in goal.
Mike Zigomanis scored both goals for the Marlies, one into an empty net with two seconds remaining in the third period.
Matt Caruana, Ryan Hamilton, Greg Scott and Philippe Dupuis picked up an assist each.
Rynnas made 24 saves for his second consecutive shutout, and third of the season, while Barons keeper Yann Danis stopped 14 of 15 shots in defeat.
Neither team’s power play was a factor as both clubs went 0 for 3.
Even though Rynnas had been the more consistent goalie on the Marlies roster in recent weeks, on Saturday Eakins went back to their number one, Ben Scrivens, against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, Scrivens couldn’t help his team’s struggling offence and he added to some issues of his own as they fell to the visiting Bulldogs 4-1.
“I thought it should have been a 1-0, maybe even a 0-0 game through two periods, but we were having a little bit of a problem in our net today,” said Eakins following the loss.
Most notably, the game-winning goal was handed to Brian Willsie to shoot into an open net when Scrivens mishandled the puck well out past the hash marks midway through the second period.
Aaron Palushaj, Zack FitzGerald and Andreas Engqvist had a goal and an assist each to round out the Bulldog’s scoring.
Hamilton scored the lone goal for the Marlies, his team leading 16th.
Scott and Simon Gysbers each had an assist.
The Marlies went 0 for 1 on the power play as the Bulldogs failed to score on five opportunities with the man advantage.
Robert Mayer only had to face 20 shots to pick up the win while Scrivens made 26 saves for the loss, his sixth in his last seven starts.
In his last four starts, all losses, the Spruce Grove, Alta. native has 3.48 GAA and an .857SV%, numbers well below the 2.26 GAA and .920SV% he carried when he first returned from his time spent with the Leafs.
“He’s the same kid, but a different goalie has come back,” said Eakins about Scrivens since returning. “I’m not saying he’s awful or anything like that. He’s just off a little bit. Francois Allaire worked with him this week, thought he was in a good frame of mind and ready to go but he’s fighting it a bit.”
With Rynnas stopping 85 of the last 86 shots faced and winning his last three, Scrivens is being pushed hard for the first time this season for playing time. The Finnish netminder will continue to see more ice time too until Scrivens finds a way to bounce back.
“If the other goalie playing well is going to affect him, he better retire,” said Eakins about Scrivens first serious internal competition. “There’s always going be someone there challenging for your spot. And if there isn’t, you don’t have a very good team.”
The Marlies head out on an eight-game road trip that starts Tuesday on the east coast when they visit the St. John’s IceCaps, a team they are 3-1-1 against this season.
With only five goals in their last three games, members of Marlies will have to step up their production if they want to return to Toronto a first-place club.
“We need more out of Matt Frattin, Nicolas Deschamps., Greg Scott, Marcel Mueller,” said Eakins while also mentioning Joe Colborne as another key player currently underachieving. “Those are guys that have to step up in those games. You got to find a way to battle through. The mentally strong survive.”
- On Sunday morning the Marlies made their goalie situation slightly stranger by recalling Mark Owuya from the Reading Royals of the ECHL. Owuya went 5-2-1 with a 1.78 GAA and .936SV%, the best numbers of any Marlies goalkeeper, last time he was called up. Despite the playing time in question between Scrivens and Rynnas, it was confirmed that the plan is to take Owuya on the road with the team and keep three goalies on the roster until further decisions are made.
- Owuya was 7-1-3 with a 2.78 GAA and .928 SV% with the Royals before being recalled on Sunday
- Kenny Ryan spent time out with a concussion before being assigned to the Royals on Friday. Showing he’s getting back to form, he has a goal and three points in two games with the ECHL affiliate this weekend
- Dale Mitchell has two goals and five points in two games with Reading since also being assigned to them on Friday
- Matt Frattin was inserted into the Marlies line up on Saturday along side Joe Colborne and Nicolas Deschamps on the top line
- Korbinian Holzer and Colton Orr also joined the Marlies line up on Friday