The Toronto Marlies outplayed and were superior to the Rochester Americans in virtually every aspect of yesterday's game at the Ricoh Coliseum except one -- the final score.
Despite outshooting Rochester 54-24, having far more quality scoring opportunities and ending the game with most of the puck possession, the Marlies somehow were beaten 3-1.
This miracle on ice for the visitors allowed them to remain unbeaten in American Hockey League play, pushing their record to 6-0. The loss dropped the Marlies to 2-3-1.
"It is frustrating because I thought we played well" said Marlies Brad Leeb who scored at 2:18 of the first period to give his club a 1-0 lead. "I thought we deserved a better fate.
"You have to look at the positives and, if we continue to play that way, we'll win a lot of hockey games in the future."
The most painful part of the afternoon occurred at the 17:28 mark of the second period when the Marlies had a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. But they could manage only five shots on net, stymied by the fine play of Rochester goalie Adam Dennis.
Then in the final period, trailing 2-1, they had another 5-on-3 for 1:45, but again couldn't score.
"They were the turning points of the game," Leeb said. "On 5-on-3s you should be scoring almost every time."
With 1:15 to play, Marlies goaltender Justin Pogge was pulled allowing the Americans to add an empty-net goal.
Mikael Tellqvist, who was in the Marlies net the previous two games after being sent down from Toronto on a conditioning stint, was on the bench last night.
In his two games last week, Tellqvist allowed a total of nine goals in a 5-4 overtime loss and Friday's 5-4 win over Hamilton.
It was just the second AHL start for Pogge, who allowed five goals in a 5-2 loss to Manitoba, Oct. 7.
Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo, who is with the Marlies on a conditioning stint and played in Friday's win, did not play yesterday. He will be back in uniform today against the Peoria Rivermen.