The cold Friday evening in the GTA got a bit colder at the Ricoh Coliseum as the Hershey Bears took advantage of average goaltending in handing the Marlies a 5-2 loss.
At times the Marlies completely dominated the pace of play but were only to be thwarted by some short sided gifts by Garret Sparks. The normally solid Marlies goalie had an opportunity to make key saves but never quite had the game he was looking for and was eventually pulled in the second period and replaced by Antoine Bibeau.
Nikita Soshnikov opened the scoring for the Marlies in the second period to tie the game. An excellent play walking off the boards, and driving to the net gave the young Russian his 18th goal of the season.
Just over a minute later the Marlies took the lead in the game on an excellent short handed goal by Zach Hyman, his 13th of the campaign. Sam Carrick and Hyman had an incredible hard working shift in producing the goal while Rinat Valiev was in the sin bin.
After going down by another goal at the midway point of the period, the Marlies did switch goaltenders to grab a spark for the team.
In the third period a mediocre decision by the referee changed the outlook for this game. Rinat Valiev appeared to tie this one up at 3-3 but the goal was immediately waved off. Apparently during a battle in front of the net Sam Carrick got his stick up on Connor Carrick, and was guilty of a two-minute minor penalty and the goal was null and void.
On the ensuing powerplay the Bears beat Bibeau to make the game 4-2, and the Ricoh faithful were disappointed to say the least. Boos rained down on the officials, in an attempt to voice their displeasure with their call on Carrick.
The Bears would eventually score an empty net shorthanded goal to seal this game 5-2 . Marlies had plenty of powerplay opportunities but first star of the game Dan Ellis continued to thwart them at every turn as the team went 0-4 with the man advantage.
Sam Carrick and Tobias Lindberg led the Marlies with six shots apiece.
The loss this evening was only the 10th defeat of the season and now brings the Marlies record to 41-10-4.
Marlies are right back at it tomorrow afternoon when they host the Rochester ‘Muricans at the Ricoh.