TORONTO – It was a special teams nightmare for the Toronto Marlies.
Toronto went 1 for 11 on the power play, 2 for 4 on the penalty kill and gave up two short-handed goals to the Grand Rapids Griffins in a 6-3 loss in American Hockey League action Saturday.
Iiari Filppula, Brent Raedeke and Jan Mursak each had two goals for Grand Rapids.
Justin Hodgman had two goals and Darryl Boyce had the other for the Marlies (2-4-0), who dropped to 1-4 at home to start the season.
Grand Rapids’ Thomas McCollum made 25 saves for the win.
After Toronto scored five goals in its first home win of the season Saturday against the Oklahoma City Barons, the Marlies tried to play run-and-gun with the talented Griffins.
“We don’t have as much skill as they do,” Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins said. “We fell into the trap of ‘OK, you want to play a skilled game. Let’s play one too.’ And they firmly shoved it up our rears.”
Jussi Rynnas looked shaky in goal, stopping just 19 of 25 shots for the Marlies. Rynnas let in four goals on just nine shots in the first period alone and gave up a 4-0 lead 14:12 into the game.
“I know Rynnas would like to have one or two of those back,” said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins.
The Finnish netminder has lost all three of his starts this season.
The Griffins (4-2-1) got it going on the power play less than three minutes into the first period. Filppula took a cross-ice pass from Francis Pare and one-timed the puck past Rynnas before he could get over to make the save.
Filppula then got his second of the game at 6:24. He picked up the puck inside the Marlies’ blue-line on a partial breakaway and slipped it through Rynnas’ legs.
The Griffins made it 3-0 at 11:30 with the teams playing 4-on-4. Raedeke screened Rynnas in front and tipped in a point shot from Derek Meech.
Raedeke made it 4-0 with the Griffins shorthanded. He blocked a point shot, went in alone on Rynnas and deked him through his legs for his second of the night, bringing jeers from the sparse crowd of 2,294 at Ricoh Coliseum.
“Ninety-nine per cent of the time I would’ve pulled our goalie or called a timeout,” Eakins said. “But I was so mad at our players that I just told them on the bench, ‘I’m not going to pull him and I’m not going to call a timeout. I’m not letting you guys off the hook.'”
Hodgman finally got the Marlies (2-4-0) on the board with a power-play goal at 14:34, snapping a wrist shot up high past McCollum who was making his second straight start.
The Griffins made it 5-1 at 5:07 of the second period. With Jay Rosehill off on a double minor for high sticking, Mursak took a pass from Filppula in the slot and beat Rynnas high glove side.
Hodgman cut the lead to 5-2 at the end of a power play. Ryan Hamilton made a pass from the corner to Hodgman who drifted into the slot uncovered and backhanded the puck high over McCollum’s right shoulder.
Mursak got his second of the night shorthanded midway through the third period. Eakins pulled Rynnas to get a 6-on-4 power play, but the gamble didn’t pay off as Mursak scored into the empty net.
Boyce got a short-handed marker for Toronto at 14:10 to make it a three-goal game. But that was it for the Marlies who looked slugging all evening after putting together a dominating performance Saturday.
“You can go one day, play as a team so well and everything is clicking,” Eakins said. “And then 24 hours later you’re very bad.
“We just never got our game going at all.”
The Marlies next play in Hamilton on Friday where they won their only road game of the season. They then host Lake Erie on Saturday before embarking on a 10-game road trip Nov. 3 to 19.
“We need a change of pace, a change of scenery,” said Marlies captain Alex Foster. “Teams are supposed to be afraid to come into your home building and we didn’t instill that in anyone yet.
“This road trip coming up will be good for us, get our heads clear, get the guys bonding and hopefully we’ll get a good run going before we come home.”
Notes: Marlies’ Matt Lashoff and brother Brian on the Griffins played against each other for the first time in their professional careers. . . Rosehill returned to the Marlies’ lineup after missing three games to injury. . . Brayden Irwin and Nazem Kadri are ranked among the top five in AHL rookie scoring leaders with six and seven points respectively. . . The Marlies were 2-3-1 against the Griffins last season.