TORONTO - The Toronto Marlies were thoroughly dominated by the Chicago Wolves on Sunday, but Dallas Eakins isn't going to let it overshadow the team's recent success.
"These things happen to a team," the Marlies head coach said after Toronto's 5-1 defeat. "We're not going to carry this. I'm going to take the (video) of the game, as soon as it's available, and throw it in the garbage and we'll move on."
Although Chicago put an end to Toronto's five-game winning streak, the American Hockey League club has earned points in 15 of its last 18 games, going 12-3-3 after a 2-6-0 start.
"It's just one of those nights," Eakins said. "These things happen, and it is unacceptable, but this team has played so well over the last four weeks."
"We've climbed back up the ladder, and now we're in a great, great fight for playoff spot."
Peter Mannino made 21 saves and the Wolves scored two short-handed goals as they won their second in a row.
Nigel Dawes, Mark Matheson, Patrice Cormier, Jared Ross and Andrew Kozek scored for Chicago.
Jussi Rynnas stopped 33 shots for the Marlies, while Dale Mitchell had the lone goal.
The win prevented Toronto (14-9-3) from taking over top spot in the North Division from the idle Hamilton Bulldogs, who Chicago beat 2-1 on Saturday.
It was the third game in three days for both teams, but it was Joey Crabb's fourth game in as many days. He played for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday in their 5-0 loss to the Edmonton Oilers before being assigned to Marlies for their three-game homestand.
"I was all right," Crabb said. "A little bit of fatigue, but I was OK."
It was Crabb's first shot with the Leafs after being signed as a free agent in the off-season.
"I was happy with the way I played and they gave me a great opportunity," he said. "I was playing with (Mikhail) Grabovski and (Nikolai) Kulemin for most of the time. I was happy with the way it went. I was disappointed I got sent down, but I understand it's a business."
The Marlies looked sluggish all afternoon, but Crabb didn't use that as an excuse for the loss.
"(Chicago) came hard," he said. "They have a lot of skill and speed, but if you get them in their end you can work them and we didn't do that at all. We didn't do it once."
Chicago (13-13-1) dominated play from beginning to end and took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room after the first.
It could've been much worse for the Marlies, who were outshot 17-4 in the period and didn't register a shot until the 11:33 mark. Chicago had a chance for more on a two-man advantage early on, but the Marlies sixth-ranked penalty killing went 5-for-5 against the Wolves' power play, which came into the game first in the league at 24.4 per cent.
"I will say this," Eakins said, "our penalty kill shut down the best power play in the league, so that's at least one positive."
Chicago made it 4-0 in the second before Toronto finally got on the board at 18:10. Danny Richmond's point shot deflected off Mannino's shoulder high in the air behind him before Mitchell batted it home.
Toronto didn't get its first shot of the second period until 14:30 and had just 10 in total after two periods.
Chicago added another in the third to finish the scoring.
Toronto plays six of its next seven games on the road, beginning Wednesday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. It's a game Eakins is looking forward to, especially since the Marlies are 8-2-3 away from home.
"It'll be great," Eakins said. "And I like that it'll be on the road, too, because our guys play a real simple, simple game on the road. They know there's no show and no fans to please, and I love the way we play on the road."
Notes: Chicago came into the game tied with the Adirondack Phantoms for most goals allowed (96) in the league. ... Crabb won the Calder Cup as a member of the Wolves in 2008. ... Attendance at Ricoh Coliseum was 2,936.