November 27, 2014
TORONTO – The coaching staff have made the message loud and clear. Now it’s time for the players to respond.
The Marlies fell to the Adirondack Flames 3-2 on Wednesday night for their eighth loss in a row and sit dead-last in the North Division standings with just one victory in their past 10 outings. Through those eight contests, Toronto has been limited to scoring just 12 goals while allowing 28 against.
“We’ve had individual meetings, as a group, as a team. Our structure we’ve talked about. They have to find it within themselves to turn these losses into wins,” said coach Gord Dineen. “When we’re not scoring, I think a lot of times guys think call-ups are based on points and they press offensively, whether they rush a play or are too tentative, that’s where we’re at right now. We just have to get to a point where we’re simplifying things and playing more collectively as a group.”
Toronto’s inability to produce goals isn’t custom to its recent streak of losses and has been a major concern since the season started. The club is averaging only 1.55 goals per game through 18 games this season, compiling a 5-11-2 record along the way. They haven’t scored more than three goals in a game once and have been held to one or less goals nine times.
Furthering the team’s struggles, the Marlies have been outscored 34-15 through the first two periods of play and have taken a lead into the third period twice this season— including a 1-0 edge they blew against the Flames.
“When you look at our offensive output, when you get behind it’s even a bigger hill to climb, preparation has to be there at beginning of games and it can only be said so often,” said Dineen.
Toronto’s power play hasn’t been able to bail out the team either. With just five goals on 60 opportunites, the club’s power-play efficiency of 8.3 per cent is last in the AHL.
Currently Greg McKegg leads the club with seven goals (three on PP) while Connor Brown and Spencer Abbott have produced three goals apiece. Josh Leivo has just one goal in nine games, Sam Carrick is scoreless in 14 outings while David Broll has yet to register a point in 17 contests.
“I’ve got a lot of guys who potentially could be difference makers and I can’t base my lines on what they can potentially do,” said Dineen. “They have to find a way.”