The Toronto Marlies relinquished a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes with a three-goal-against second period that consigned them to defeat on Monday night versus Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The opening frame was fast and frenetic without many quality scoring chances for either team. The Penguins held a slight edge in possession and offensive zone time, but they were unable to turn it into an opening goal.
Matt Bartkowski really should have broken the deadlock at the 10-minute mark for the Penguins. After corralling the loose puck in the crease, he proceeded to shovel a shot straight into the chest of Michael Hutchinson.
The Marlies rarely threatened the Penguins’ net, but they came close with eight minutes remaining. Joey Anderson thought he escaped on a breakaway, but he had his stick lifted, creating a loose puck that was picked up by the trailing Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, whose wrist shot found the post.
The first power play of the game was awarded to the Marlies, who made it count. Joey Anderson redirected Joseph Duszak’s point to shot to give Toronto a 1-0 lead through 20 minutes.
The Marlies completely imploded in the middle frame, albeit they were not helped by some subpar netminding.
Toronto compounded a terrible shift featuring two turnovers with an ill-advised line change. The Penguins had two men parked alone in the crease, where Will Reilly’s shot banked in off of Kasper Bjorkqvist.
Scoring a goal with their first shot of the period at the two-minute mark went straight to the legs of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They killed a penalty with ease, creating a scoring chance and drawing a penalty for their first power play of the game.
The momentum swing occurred at the seven-minute courtesy of two soft goals 25 seconds apart. Hutchinson allowed a long-range wrist shot from Anthony Angello to beat him clean glove side. The goaltender compounded that error by giving up a huge rebound in the slot from Bartkowski’s shot from the left board. Former Marlie Jamie Devane was left with an easy chance to give his team a 3-1 lead.
The Marlies failed to muster a positive response as the Penguins controlled the game with ease, limiting Toronto to just seven shots.
A goal from Kyle Olson with 19 seconds remaining in the period rubbed salt into the wound for the Marlies.
After some disagreements to finish the middle frame, Toronto began the third period on the penalty kill. The Marlies dodged a bullet as Valtteri Puustinen’s blistering shot cannoned off the crossbar and high into the netting.
A power play with 15 minutes remaining offered the Marlies a glimmer of hope to begin a comeback, but after failing to capitalize with the extra man, Toronto whimpered to defeat on home ice.
The Penguins were happy to sit back and allow the Marlies to dominate the shot clock, but their victory was never in doubt. A giveaway in front of his own net by Der-Arguchintsev gifted Michael Chaput a goal, but by that point, the game was over as a contest.
The same teams do battle again in Toronto on Wednesday night.
Post Game Notes
– Toronto won the special teams battle, which was the only facet of this game they came out on top. They were 1-4 on the power play and killed two penalties.
– Joey Anderson’s 21st goal of the season was his seventh power-play tally.
– Joseph Duszak recorded his 35th assist with the primary helper on the lone goal. The defenseman is ranked eighth in the AHL among all skaters in assists this season.
– Curtis Douglas penned a two-year ELC before the game. That deal kicks in next season.
– Greg Moore was absent after becoming a father yesterday.
– Tuesday’s lines:
Seney – Der-Arguchintsev – Anderson
Robertson – Blandisi – Steeves
McMann – Abramov – Suomela
Clune – Douglas – Chyzowski
Kivihalme – Dahlström
Rubins – Duszak
Král – Hollowell