The Toronto Marlies’ 8-5 victory against Cleveland was an aberration in every way possible, bearing no resemblance to a structured professional hockey game.
Faced with a disciplined opponent that plays with structure, the Marlies struggled to generate enough offense to fully test Kyle Keyser between the pipes en route to a 3-1 loss to Providence on Tuesday.
A snapshot just 70 seconds into the game from Alex Steeves was as good as it got from Toronto in the first 15 minutes of the period. While Providence was able to break out with consummate ease, the Marlies could barely generate possession time across the red line.
Joseph Woll’s best save of the frame occurred early, robbing Steven Fogarty in tight following a defensive breakdown.
Keyser was only tested once at the other end. Handling a bouncing puck on a shorthanded rush, Joseph Blandisi got a shot away that forced the Bruins goaltender into an awkward-looking save.
The Marlies rode their luck throughout the opening frame. They killed a second penalty and a shot from Tyler Lewington was tipped straight onto the crossbar and out as the teams headed into the intermission scoreless.
The middle frame was easily the Marlies‘ best 20 minutes of the game. They took the lead almost five minutes in on an individual effort from Curtis Douglas, who drove the net from his off-wing and somehow snuck the puck through Keyser. It was a goal the Bruins netminder wanted back, but it was also a deserved reward for Douglas.
Throughout this game, the Marlies failed to get off the perimeter and inside the Providence defense with any kind of regularity.
Three were a few more chances in the middle frame for Toronto, but nothing came of them. Bobby McMann teed up Antti Suomela in the slot but Keyser was equal to his effort, and Joseph Duszak was turned away by a good pad save.
Arguably, Toronto did not perform to a high enough standard to feel hard done by, but they could certainly feel aggrieved about what transpired on their first power play. J.D Greenway took a run at Steeves, wiping the rookie out with what appeared to be a high, dangerous hit. Regardless of whether head contact was made, at the very least, an interference call should have been made, with the puck nowhere near Steeves at the time of contact.
The back official standing a few feet away called nothing, while Steeves left the ice and did not return. It should have resulted in a possibly game-changing 5-on-3 power play.
Providence should have tied the game in the final seconds of the period when a giveaway by Blandisi presented the Bruins with a 3-on-1 break. Woll stonewalled Providence by denying Chris Wagner and Lewington on the rebound to keep Toronto’s slim lead intact.
The third period can be best summed up by the following numbers: Providence created eight high-danger scoring chances, while Toronto mustered just four shots on goal over the entire 20 minutes.
Josh Ho-Sang, who is yet to find his groove since his return to action, uncharacteristically delivered a poor pass during a 3-on-1 rush. The Bruins immediately took advantage, transitioning the puck with speed back the other way, where Zach Senyshyn netted his 17th of the season to tie the game at 1-1- at the five-minute mark.
It was simply a matter of time until Providence scored a decisive second goal. Woll continued to impress between the pipes, denying Cameron Huges on a breakaway just two minutes after the Bruins tied the game.
The winning tally was credited to Jack Studnicka, whose shot weaved through traffic and appeared to be redirected on its way into the net.
There was still 6:29 remaining in regulation for Toronto to fight back, although Carl Dahlström’s penalty didn’t help matters. They failed to register another shot on target as Providence cruised to victory.
The Marlies’ fate was sealed when Oskar Steen scored into the empty net as Providence walked away 3-1 winners.
Post Game Notes
– The Marlies were outshot 30-15, with Bobby McMann (3) and Curtis Douglas (3) responsible for six shots between them.
– The team’s lone goal was a third in four games for Curtis Douglas. It stems from a willingness to shoot more while also using his towering frame to take the puck to the net more often.
– This was Joseph Woll’s fourth start since his return from injury, all of which have been losses. I feel sorry for him in some ways as the team has performed terribly in front of him on each occasion. He stopped 27 of 29 shots and was the only reason the Marlies had a chance to take something from this game down the stretch.
– After further evaluation, Alex Steeves has been diagnosed with a concussion.
– Pavel Gogolev was recently reassigned to Newfoundland Growlers. In four games, the winger has racked up two goals and four assists.
– Tuesday’s lines:
Anderson – Der-Arguchintsev – Steeves
McMann – Suomela – Ho-Sang
Blandisi – Abramov – O’Brien
Clune – Douglas – Kopacka
Dahlström – Biega
Kivihalme – Duszak
Král – Rub?ns