(pictured – Brad Ross collected his first pro goal)

Dec. 9: Marlies 2 vs. Abbotsford 3

Marlies scorers: McKegg (3), Ross (1)
Heat scorers: Reinhart (2), Street (6), Horak (13)
Links: Box Score | Discussion boards

Forward lines:: Hamlton-Aucoin-Abbott, Ross-Kadri-Frattin, D’Amigo-Zigomanis-Ryan, McKegg-Colborne-Ashton
Defence pairings: Fraser-Holzer, Kostka-Ranger, Yeo-Blacker
Goaltenders: Scrivens (Loss, 58:42 minutes played, 22 SV, 3 GA), Owuya (0:00)

The Toronto Marlies’ four-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of the AHL-leading Abbotsford Heat on Sunday. A late goal by Roman Horak on the power-play was the difference in a 3-2 Abbotsford win.

The Marlies had a lacklustre first two periods of the game, generating only 10 shots towards Heat goalie Barry Brust over the first forty minutes, and headed into the final frame facing a 2-0 deficit. That’s when the rookies sparked a rally.

Greg McKegg scored off a left-wing rush to get Toronto on the board. Television replays showed that the officials missed an offside on the play as Korbinian Holzer had failed to hold the blueline.

Toronto tied the score with exactly seven minutes remaining in regulation time after Brad Ross deflected a point shot by Mike Kostka. It was Ross’ first professional goal, with the Portland Winterhawks graduate having registered 42 goals in 68 games in his final junior season last year. “I didn’t really know that I put it in, but when I heard my name it was pretty nice,” said Ross following the game. “They have a couple of big defencemen, but good things happen when you go to the net.”

Marlies coach Dallas Eakins was pleased both rookies’ late-game efforts. “Brad Ross going to the net like that, that’s the kind of goals he’s going to score. And I think Greg McKegg really woke up in the third period.”

The game appeared to be headed to overtime when Paul Ranger was assessed a questionable interference penalty. On the subsequent Abbotsford power-play, Horak found the net on a rebound after he was unattended when Marlies defenceman Dylan Yeo was knocked over.

Toronto was without the services of Jake Gardiner, who sat out the third period of Saturday’s game after taking a charge from Rochester’s Kevin Porter. “You just don’t replace a skating defenceman like that,” said Eakins. “We definitely miss him, he’s a big part of our offence.” No timetable was provided regarding Gardiner’s return.

Despite the loss McKegg found positives in both the contributions of himself and his fellow rookie teammate. “It’s nice to chip in any you can, especially with us young guys playing more of a limited role,” said McKegg. “(Ross) has been playing well, he’s been around the net a lot. It was nice to see him get that one.”

The Marlies dropped to 0-8-0 this season when scoring two goals or less. A crowd of 5,572 was on hand at Ricoh Coliseum, many of whom participated in the annual teddy bear toss for charity.

The team’s next game is Saturday in Rochester.