IceCaps sink Marlies in penalty ridden affair

Despite blowing a four-goal lead in the infamous 9-8 game, the IceCaps have had the Toronto Marlies’ number this season. For the second time this weekend, they handed the home team a beating.

In the last of a three-in-three for both teams, it was the officials who appeared the most tired, making some very strange and questionable calls, especially against the home team.
Toronto were solid at even strength but spent far too much time killing penalties.

This should not detract from the performance of Montreal’s affiliate, who once again were worthy of the win.

A positive first two and a half minutes for Toronto was halted after Hyman headed to the box for closing his hand on the puck. The first period went downhill from that moment forward.

St. John’s opened the scoring on the powerplay, just as they did Saturday afternoon, after Morgan Ellis fired home top shelf past the blocker of Bibeau.

Toronto had the opportunity to respond with a man advantage of their own but couldn’t get their shots through as the visiting IceCaps did a great job of getting in the shooting lanes.

A pair of undisciplined penalties from Brennan, and then Carrick, put Toronto up against it and St. John’s capitalized on their opportunity. Daniel Carr found Bud Holloway backdoor; after Bibeau stopped his first two efforts, the IceCaps forward took the puck back around the net and slotted home a backhand wraparound effort.

Hyman didn’t have the best luck in this game, and his fine effort on a bouncing feed from Carrick was well stopped by Zach Fucale.

Toronto found themselves on a five-minute penalty kill after Clune was called for fighting, although there didn’t appear to be a punch thrown. A reputation call, perhaps, but a poor one from the officials, and they soon evened up part of the penalty.

It was during four-on-four that St.John’s extended their lead. Hudon’s shot produced a juicy rebound for Holloway, whose hardest job on the play was to stop dead after racing past the puck before tapping home into the yawning cage.

Shortly afterwards, Nylander was called for hooking and Toronto only just survived the ensuing 5 on 3. Before the period ended, there was another baffling call on Michael McCarron, boxed for roughing despite throwing punches after the whistle.

A Marlies powerplay to begin the middle frame was erased just 30 seconds in, as Panik hooked Dumont to prevent the IceCaps captain from scoring on a shorthanded breakaway.

With Frattin off to the box 23 seconds later, it was yet another 5-on-3 penalty kill for Toronto and Bibeau made a flurry of exceptional saves to keep his team in the game.

The Marlies responded to the fine work of their goaltender, with Panik testing Fucale before the luckless Hyman was denied on yet another rebound effort, this time the work of Soshnikov providing the opportunity.

The red-hot Leipsic was trying his best to make things happen, but with space on the left side his bullet of a shot brought the best from Fucale, who was proving his performance in the 9-8 game was a nothing more than a blip.

With six minutes remaining in the second period, it was the home team’s turn for a two man advantage and they took the chance with both hands. Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Nylander put the puck in the wheelhouse of Brennan, who released his booming shot from the slot that gave Fucale no chance from that range.

Shots were flying in from everywhere as Toronto racked up 18 efforts on net but couldn’t find a way to pull within one during their best stretch of play of the afternoon.

In fact, two late calls in the second period would decide the fate of the game, and once again they were highly debatable calls. Leipsic was called for roughing on man-mountain McCarron before Campbell was hauled off for holding during the last 32 seconds.

Sheldon Keefe was furious and tried to speak with the officials after the intermission buzzer sounded.

His mood would not improve 42 seconds into the third period as Hudon made full use of the room afforded to him.

There was still a glimmer of hope despite trailing by three, as there were still 19 minutes left on the clock. That was extinguished just four minutes later as Toronto gifted the visitors a fifth goal.

Bibeau, out to play the puck behind the net, shifted it to Brennan on the left side. The defenseman contrived to fire the puck in front of his own net, where Mark MacMillan was waiting in the slot. MacMillan settled the puck down and fired past Bibeau, who didn’t have time to get himself set.

The game was done as a contest from there, outside of Clune actually fighting for real and dropping the mitts with Fournier, for which he received a game misconduct as per AHL rules.

Post Game Notes

– For the first time this season, the Toronto Marlies have lost two straight.

– The IceCaps have won three of the four games between these divisional rivals this year and took a point from the other. They will meet another eight times before April.

– Antoine Bibeau’s struggles continue, although he was better today than Saturday.
I’m not sure how much blame you attach to a goaltender when three goals come on the powerplay and the other off a horrendous giveaway. He has to do what Sparks did last season and find a way to rebound.

– Jack Rodewald came in for his seasonal debut while Arcobello and Kapanen missed out. Other scratches were Valiev, Johnson, Bailey, Arcobello and Loov.

– Toronto allowed three goals on ten powerplays, and accrued 48 penalty minutes.

Marlies Player Stats

Campbell, Andrew00012
Brennan, T.J.10-122
Harrington, Scott00-120
Percy, Stuart00000
Hyman, Zach00-142
Rodewald, Jack00010
Leivo, Josh00-140
Carrick, Sam00012
Clune, Richard000232
Panik, Richard00012
Leipsic, Brendan01032
Gauthier, Frederik00010
Martin, James00-110
Findlay, Brett00-120
Frattin, Matt00-102
Holl, Justin00-140
Nylander, William01042
Soshnikov, Nikita00-150