The Toronto Marlies dropped a tough 8-1 decision at home on Wednesday, as the visiting Syracuse Crunch came out firing on all cylinders to even the season series 1-1.
Syracuse opened the scoring at 4:46 when Andy Andreoff got a jump on an odd-man rush and beat Eamon McAdam top shelf. Alex Barre-Boulet doubled the lead for the visitors at 10:25, and the Marlies found themselves in a 2-0 hole.
With time winding down in the opening frame, the Marlies capitalized on the man-advantage at the 19:33 mark. Sam Gagner passed down to Chris Mueller at the goal line, who connected with Jeremy Bracco who beat Eddie Pasquale to finish off the tic-tac-toe play.
The Crunch quickly restored their two-goal lead, scoring with just seven seconds remaining in the opening frame.
Syracuse added three unanswered goals in the middle stanza, and two more in the third, en route to an 8-1 victory. Andy Andreoff and Alex Barre-Boulet both tallied two goals for the Crunch.
Syracuse: A. Andreoff (12) (C. Gaunce, D. Masin), A. Barre-Boulet (10) (N. Valleau, E. Pasquale), D. Yan (6) (C. Verhaeghe), O. Somppi (1) (T. Bourke, T. Raddysh), R. Colton (2) (D. Yan), C. Gaunce (5) (C. Verhaeghe, B. Katchouk), A. Andreoff (13) PP (A. Barre-Boulet, C. Conacher), A. Barre-Boulet (11) (Unassisted) Goaltender: E. Pasquale (28/29)
Toronto: J. Bracco (5) PP (C. Mueller, S. Gagner) Goaltender: E. McAdam (2/5), K. Kaskisuo (20/25)
ON THE SCORESHEET
Jeremy Bracco scored on the power play at 19:33 of the first period. Bracco has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last three games.
Chris Mueller recorded the primary assist on Bracco’s first period power play goal. Mueller has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) on the power play this season, leading the Marlies.
Sam Gagner registered the secondary assist on Bracco’s first period power play goal. Gagner has 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 18 games this season.
Eamon McAdam stopped 2 of 5 shots he faced. McAdam is now 5-2-2-1 on the season with a .885 Save Percentage and a 3.17 Goals Against Average. Kasimir Kaskisuo replaced McAdam to start the second period, stopping 20 of 25 shots he faced. Kaskisuo is now 2-4-1-0 on the season with a .857 Save Percentage and a 4.68 Goals Against Average.
Toronto went 2-for-3 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play.
Syracuse had a 30-29 edge in shots in all situations.
Frank Corrado led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
The Marlies are 8-8-3-2 against North Division opponents and are 1-1-0-0 against the Syracuse Crunch this season.
REGULAR SEASON LEADERS
Goals: T. Moore (12)
Assists: C. Rosen (17)
Points: C. Mueller (24)
PPG: S. Gagner (4)
Shots: T. Moore, C. Rosen (66)
+/-: C. Grundstrom (+7)
PIMS: S. Oleksy (36)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On tonight’s game: I thought we got off to a fine start to the game. We made some mistakes that we definitely would like to have back, things that we talked about before the game and we knew would be problems if we didn’t execute and then we didn’t get that done and then we didn’t get saves. We didn’t do our job of protecting our goalies and goalies didn’t do their job of protecting the group, so that’s a bad combination. It’s a tough game to play when you don’t get saves, it’s tough on the team mentally but we have to do a better job in front of them and we were the second-best team on the ice by a mile tonight.
On the message to the team following this loss: It’s the same message we’ve been going through all season. It’s not the first time going through this, we’ve been through it a lot. So, we’ll have to pick ourselves off the mat here and get going.
On whether recent moves affecting the team’s performance: Zero, zero, there’s no impact at all. This is a good group that we had in the lineup tonight. It’s a group that was successful for us last weekend and we just didn’t get it done today. That’s a very good team we played against, they’re rolling and they’re in the position that they are for a reason. You have to play a very good hockey game and you have to really execute in all areas of the game to have a chance. I thought we had a fine start to the game and then you make one or two mistakes and you let skilled players get in behind you, it’s a tough ask to try and win the game. It’s a tough ask for your goalies that are struggling and trying to find their way and we just didn’t help them out enough and they didn’t help us out in turn. That’s what we’re going through as a team and we’ve got find a way to find some consistency despite that.
December 14 at Manitoba – 7:00 p.m. ET
December 15 at Manitoba – 6:00 p.m. ET
December 19 vs Binghamton – 7:00 p.m. ET
December 21 at Laval – 7:30 p.m. ET
December 22 at Laval – 1:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies (10-9-3-2) close out their December home stand tonight as the Syracuse Crunch (13-6-2-0) roll into town for a 7:00 PM puck drop at Coca-Cola Coliseum.
Coming off a 1-0 overtime win over the visiting Belleville Senators on Sunday, the Marlies look to extend their win streak to two games when they host their North Division rivals for the second time this season. In their previous meeting this season, the Marlies set the tone for the season series with a convincing 4-1 victory over the visiting Crunch.
Chris Mueller (11 G, 12 A) continues to lead the Marlies offensively this season, with defenceman Calle Rosen (2 G, 17 A) not far behind. A key area for the Marlies in tonight’s match-up will be discipline, as they’ll need to limit their opponents’ opportunities on the man-advantage. The Crunch have been dangerous on the power play, with their league-leading special teams converting on 31.1% of their opportunities with the man-advantage.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 PM and fans can catch all the action on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2 and AHLTV.
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