After falling to both the Senators and the Penguins on the road, Dallas Eakins stated that he remains proud of how his team has played.

For many, the Marlies strongly outplayed their opponents in the first half of a four game road trip and have deserved a better result. The team’s ultimate leader and general, the bench boss now in his fourth season as head coach, said their fate was not due to a lack of effort, a needed change to their system or the search for a better game out of key players. And that is precisely what makes the past two so frustrating.

“I think if we play like this, like we did [in Wilkes-Barre] and how we did in Binghamton, we’re going to win 80% of our games.”

I’m no mathematician, but I believe then the odds are in the team’s favour if they continue aggressive style on Sunday in Hershey. It is the first time in over two years that the team has been in the chocolate capital, their most recent visit came as a win thanks to the go-ahead marker by Christian Hanson (you remember him, right – oddly enough he went on to play for the Bears the very next season).

Here are my notes ahead of the 5pm puck drop at Giant Centre:

  • Saturday saw the scoring streaks of Mike Kostka (10 points in 7 games), Nazem Kadri (12 points in 6 games) and Matt Frattin (4 goals in 3 games) come to an end
  • This is the first return to Hershey for forward Keith Aucoin who was with the Pennsylvania team for four season where he helped the club to back-to-back Calder Cup titles in 2009 & 2010
  • On the opposing side, Toronto’s 2005 5th round pick Alex Berry has dressed in five straight for the Bears – Berry was traded in order to acquire defenceman Matt Lashoff
  • Hershey is 3-5-0-1 on home ice, and presently sit 14th in the Eastern Conference
  • Fortifying their crease the Bears have Braden Holtby who put on a clinic in his last visit to Toronto (a shootout win for the Bears) in 2011, drawing the commendation from the Marlies coach
  • It’s Hershey’s annual Pink in the Rink game, the team will wear special jerseys in honour of their support for Breast Cancer Awareness that will be auctioned off following the game

Turn your internet radio dial to AHL Live starting at 5pm for all the action from the Giant Centre, brought to you by the ever-informative Jon Abbott who is presently travelling with the team. The audio feed is always free (it’s the video that’ll cost you a couple dollars).

Remember, as always, the #MarliesLive festivities will kick off on Twitter right around puck drop. So get your thumbs ready.

Catch me on twitter (@chansler) as I’ll be posting any and all lineup news and notes as they become available throughout the day.

***

Eakins will rotate his lineup bringing in Dylan Yeo and Spencer Abbott draw in and Kenny Ryan will come out along with a rear guard to be decided after warmup. Abbott has six points in four games this season.

EXPECTED MARLIES LINEUP

IN GOAL: #1 Mark Owuya

FOWARD LINES
Kadri – Aucoin – Ashton
Deschamps – Colborne – Frattin
Hamilton – Zigomanis – Abbott
D’Amigo – Acton – Scott

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS (game time decision)

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