TORONTO – The struggling Toronto Marlies felt cheated after their latest loss thanks to a questionable penalty call late in the game.
Centre Mike Santorelli scored a power play goal 46 seconds into overtime to give the Milwaukee Admirals a 4-3 victory over the Marlies in American Hockey League action Monday night.
With Toronto winger Darryl Boyce in the penalty box after being assessed a two-minute elbowing penalty with nine seconds left in regulation, Santorelli took a pass from Cody Franson at the side of the net and whipped the game-winner past Marlies goalie Adam Munro. In a game that featured three fights and plenty of physical play, Marlies coach Dallas Eakins wasn’t happy with the call.
“That wasn’t a penalty,” Eakins said, “I just watched it three times on video. It was a shoulder, a clean hit … that’s the thing about video, it never lies.
“And in a game like that, where the standard was set early that not much was going to be called … and then that gets called with nine seconds left.”
Cal O’Reilly, Chris Mueller and Hugh Jessiman also scored for Milwaukee (14-8-5), which won its fourth in a row.
Ben Ondrus, Andre Deveaux and Christian Hanson replied for Toronto (12-10-5), which recorded its second consecutive loss and fifth in seven games.
Admirals goaltender Mark Dekanich stopped 31 shots for the victory. At the other end, Munro made 43 saves, including 22 in the second period.
“He was excellent,” Eakins said. “He made some big, big saves and he was quite acrobatic, especially in the second period when we were running out of gas.”
It was a disappointing loss for Munro, whose record is 2-4-2 on the season. The 26-year-old netminder is on a player-tryout contract while the Marlies are without their top two goalies: Joey MacDonald (called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs) and James Reimer (injured).
“It was a lot of shots (against), yeah, but I’d like to have that second goal back,” Munro said. “And that last goal, I’m not too happy with it, either, I usually stop that.
“It feels like a while since I’ve had a win and, personally and for the team, I was looking forward to getting the win tonight … It’s pretty frustrating.”
Milwaukee led 2-1 after 20 minutes and the game was tied 3-3 after two periods.
“I thought we played well in the first period before running out of gas a bit in the second and third,” said Eakins, whose team was playing its third game in four nights.
“It was interesting to watch … we’d have five or six shifts where we’d be in their zone, and then they’d have five or six shifts, with seven or eight scoring chances, in our end.”
The Admirals opened the scoring at 8:20 of the first period after Marlies defenceman Phil Oreskovic turned the puck over at the blueline and O’Reilly picked it up and broke in on a 2-on-1 with Anders Thuresson. O’Reilly tried to pass across to Thuresson, but the puck bounced off Oreskovic and then off of a sliding Munro – and right back to O’Reilly, who slammed it into the open net.
Toronto tied the game at 1-1 just 63 seconds later when Marlies winger Greg Scott won a battle in the corner and centred to Ondrus, who had plenty of time to wire a high slap shot past Dekanich’s outstretched glove at 9:23.
The Admirals took a 2-1 lead after another Marlies turnover in the defensive zone as Mueller skated in on Munro and squeezed the puck between the Toronto netminder and the left post at 15:28.
Deveaux tied the game at 2-2 early in the second period when Darryl Boyce won an offensive-zone faceoff and Deveaux corralled the puck and whipped a high backhand shot past Dekanich at 1:27.
Hanson deflected Viktor Stalberg’s wrist shot past Dekanich at 8:14 to give Toronto a 3-2 edge.
“I know when he (Stalberg) starts skating in the offensive zone that he’s going to shoot, so I just went to the front of the net and tried to get a stick on it,” Hanson said.
Jessiman scored at 15:14 to tie the game at 3-3 and set the stage for the third period. He collected a rebound at the side of the net and slid the puck past Munro, who had made a couple of nice saves but was sliding the wrong way and didn’t have a chance.
Toronto was 0-for-2 on the power play, while Milwaukee went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
The Marlies are off until Friday when they kick off a four-game road trip in Hartford against the Wolf Pack. Milwaukee is back in action on Tuesday when they play their third consecutive road game, in Hamilton against the Bulldogs.