Goaltender Ben Scrivens struggled against division rivals
Marlies scorers: D’Amigo (8), Colborne (11), Hamilton (11)
Bulldogs scorers: Fortier 2 (5), Schultz (2), Palushaj (5), DeSimone (7), Engqvist (7)
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Forward lines:Mueller-Colborne-Scott, Hamilton-Zigomanis-Mitchell, D’Amigo-Acton-Caputi, Wilson-Caruana, Neuber
Defence pairings: Blacker-Holzer, Engel-Finger, Mikus-Gysbers
Goaltenders: Scrivens (Loss, 57:53 minutes played, 24 saves, 5 GA), Rynnas (0:00), empty net (1 GA)
When the Toronto Marlies vaulted to a 3-0 lead over the Hamilton Bulldogs in a Boxing Day matchup at Air Canada Centre, the home team appeared on their way to a blowout.
Instead, the rivals from down the Queen Elizabeth Way responded by finding an extra gear, responding with six unanswered goals – including an empty-netter – on route to a 6-3 Hamilton win.
“A different team came on the ice,” said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins. “I thought we played so well in the first period, and we were dictating the game. We were dominating the game. I think we thought Hamilton was going to roll over and die. But these games are 60 minutes long, and Hamilton did not roll over and die.”
Marlies goaltender Ben Scrivens made 24 saves in the defeat and seemed to struggle to find the puck, particularly on the first two Bulldogs goals. “I kind of feel like I hold myself responsible,” said Scrivens. “I didn’t have my best game. These guys played well enough to win, and I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain today.”
A turning point was a major penalty and game misconduct assessed to Marlies defenceman Jeff Finger for boarding Hamilton defenceman Zack FitzGerald. The Bulldogs game-tying game came on the ensuing power-play. “They scored one on the power-play but then they got a 5-on-3 and we killed that one off,” said Scrivens. “It could have gone either way, we could have gotten a lot of momentum from the kill. Those are definitely big incidents that can play heavy in a game.”
Eakins provided his opinion on the major penalty: “I didn’t think it was a five minute hit. I thought it was a hard hit. And it’s always interesting how these things get sorted out. Finger lays a hit on the guy, the guy gets up, drops his gloves – punches him probably 5 or 6 times in the head with his gloves off, and he gets a two-minute roughing call. I don’t understand that.”
Jerry D’Amigo, Joe Colborne and Ryan Hamilton each had a goal for the Marlies. D’Amigo’s tally to open the scoring came off a nifty 2-on-1 passing play with winger Luca Caputi. Hamilton’s goal chased Bulldogs starting goalie Nathan Lawson from the game.
The Marlies still hold a three-point lead atop the AHL’s North Division.