Comeback Falls Just Short in Toronto

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Despite a flurry of pressure late in the game, the Lake Erie Monsters (11-9-1-1) saw their comeback attempt fall just short in a 5-4 loss to the Toronto Marlies (12-8-0-1) at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto on Sunday. Andrew Agozzino and Mark Olver had two points each in the loss for the Monsters, who conclude their three-games-in-three-days weekend with a 1-2-0-0 record.

Jake Gardiner opened the scoring for Toronto when he received a back-door pass with five seconds remaining on a Marlies power play, and fired the puck past Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard at 7:43 of the first period.

Toronto's lead grew to 2-0 at 18:25 of the first when a Simon Gysbers shot from the right point deflected off of Marlies forward Nazem Kadri, and into the Monsters net.

With the Monsters shorthanded, Brad Malone carried the puck up the right side and found an open David van der Gulik driving to the Marlies net. Malone sent a perfect pass and van der Gulik finished the job, snapping a puck stick-side to beat Toronto goalie Mark Owuya, and put the Monsters on the board with 10.3 seconds left in the period.

Gardiner extended Toronto's lead to 3-1 at 3:10 of the second period, but Andrew Agozzino answered for the Monsters moments later at 5:56. Agozzino forced a puck into the offensive end and Patrick Bordeleau found Agozzino open at the side of the net on a pass from behind the Toronto goal. The goal was Agozzino's eighth of the season, assisted by Bordeleau and Cameron Gaunce.

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Between the 6:29 and 8:35 mark, Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton scored twice to give the Marlies a 5-2 lead, but the Monsters answered when Bill Thomas scored his fifth of the season on a four-on-three power play. Mike Sgarbossa fed a pass across the front of the net to Thomas, and Mark Olver also assisted on the goal at 13:58.

With the goalie pulled at 18:16 of the third, Mike Connolly batted in an Agozzino centering pass for his second goal of the season and second in as many days to bring the Monsters to within a goal, making the score 5-4. Connolly's goal from the top of the crease was assisted by Agozzino and Mark Olver.

Despite a late flurry, the Monsters were unable to tie the game. Pickard's record falls to 5-5-1, as he stopped 23 of 28 shots in net for the Monsters. Owuya is 2-2-0 with the win; he stopped 25 of 29 shots for Toronto.

The Monsters are back in action in Charlotte on Thursday and Friday, with each game beginning at 7:00 PM and airing live on ESPN 850 WKNR.

NOTES: The Monsters road record falls to 8-5-0-0... With an assist in Sunday’s game, Patrick Bordeleau has a point in four straight games... Karl Stollery's four-game assist streak ended in the loss in Toronto... Agozzino's multi-point game was his third of the season and third of his career... The Monsters are 1-1-0-0 against Toronto this season after carrying a 4-4-0-2 record against the Marlies last season... The Monsters are now 2-2-0-0 this season in the third game of three-games-in-three-days.