Jeff Veillette (Jeffler)
February 13 2012 08:52AM
The Toronto Marlies had an interesting week, to say the least. One that started with a few hours of entertainment given to a full house of elementary school students and concluded with a scene that parents would prefer their kids look away from.
In better news, though - it started with a win, and ended with another, spreading the Marlies divisional lead to seven points.
The first game, which I should note was the loudest the building has ever been (albeit, with chants several octaves higher than the norm), was against the Rochester Americans. Ryan Hamilton opened the scoring for Toronto ten minutes into the game, with Kelsey Wilson soon to follow to spread the lead to a pair. Zach Kassian was quick to bring the Amerks within one just two minutes into a penalty ridden second period, though other than a fight between Wilson and Travis Turnbull, most were minors. The two teams would trade a pair of goals in the third, in a zig zag formation. First it was Joe Colborne restoring the two goal lead. Then Maxime Legault closed the gap. On the powerplay, Matt Frattin brought it to 4-2, but just when it looked like we had a final score to witness, Kassian scored his second of the night with four seconds left. The game would end at 4-3.
Next up was San Antonio, a few days later at a rare Friday night game. This wasn't the only rare thing about the showing, with Jesse Blacker opening the scoring with his first professional hockey goal - an unexpected wrist shot from the left wing. Bill Thomas did his best for the Rampage to keep them in the game, tying the game at one early in the second period, but Matt Frattin scored his tenth of the year a few minutes later. The third period saw San Antonio rally back and take a lead, but Juraj Mikus' first goal in over 60 games and Philippe Dupuis' 3rd of the year gave Toronto another lead. It wouldn't last, though - blown in the final minutes, and after an awful hit by Jesse Blacker sent him to the penalty box, the game was quickly lost in overtime, 5-4.
Finishing off the week, we go to Saturday afternoon against the Hamilton Bulldogs, who usually have the Marlies number, outdoor game not considered. This wasn't the case on this day - Frattin scored his yet another, followed by a Dupuis tally to close out the first period. The second saw Will Acton open things up, and Dupuis strike again to turn this game into a blowout. Things settled down, and by settled down, I mean a shift or two after Hamilton put their first on the board, things got way out of hand. Ryan White and Nazem Kadri got to talking, White gave him a vicious cross check, Kadri gave him a gloved punch, and verything went insane from there.
In the end, Kadri and Keith Aulie would go to the box for fighting, and Frattin, along with Joe Colborne were tossed with 10 minute misconducts. Toronto still managed a 5 on 3 out of that though, giving Mike Zigomanis ample time to bring the lead to 5-1. Some pushing, shoving, and punching between Marcel Mueller and Nathan Lawson lead to Mueller earning 14 penalty minutes in a few seconds (double roughing and 10 minutes), along with Jesse Blacker also getting a misconduct. A violent conclusion to a fantastic game, capping off a 5 point week for the Marlies.
Matt Frattin continued his absurd goal scoring streak into this week, scoring a single goal in all three games, and walking out with a +1. He was also one of the many slapped with a 10 minute misconduct from the line brawl on Saturday. He now has eight goals in his past eight games.
Philippe Dupuis' empty net goal seemed to take the weight of the world off his shoulders, because he dominated again this week, scoring three goals and adding an assist, all with a +2 rating. Yet again, he was the teams most dynamic forward for this stretch of games.
Nicolas Deschamps goes from yawnworthy to noteworthy this week. Despite not scoring a goal, the creative winger had five assists and was a +2. He's really struggled to get one to hit the back of the net, but with 12 assists in his 16 games on the Marlies so far, he's still been no stranger to the scoresheet overall.
Jerry D'Amigo and Greg Scott are usually the teams dynamic penalty kill duo - their quickness and versatility often leads to chances to pick up the odd shorthanded goal or two. And in a sense, they did half their job in keeping the other team off the scoresheet with the extra man, but in terms of offensive production, they both had arguably their worst weeks of the year, going entirely scoreless, with Scott being a -2.
Between The Pipes
Ben Scrivens had a rough week, between a weak first game, being pulled in the second game and not seeing time in the third. With a 1-0-0 record, Scrivens' appearances combined for a save percentage of 0.875, and a goals against average of 3.34. Eakins was disappointed, Scrivens was disappointed in himself, and the stat sheet would probably be disappointed as well if it was a sentient being.
Mark Owuya didn't look much better coming in for Scrivens in the second game, but impressed in the third with a commanding performance against Hamilton. The Swedish rookie pulled off a 1-0-1 record, a save percentage of 0.916, and a goals against average of 2.44, and a save percentage.
The powerplay was a lackluster 2 for 15 (13.3%), and the penalty kill a stellar 12 for 13 (92.3%). If you haven't figured it out yet, welcome to the Toronto Marlies - where a powerplay only occasionally works with five forwards, you can get away with any four guys on to kill a penalty.
The Toronto Marlies signed Central Hockey League defenceman Andrew Martens to a deal for the rest of the sesaon. For more info on him, check out my post on MarliesHQ.
Toronto plays at home for three games yet again this week. The first of which is a 7PM game against the Adirondack Phantoms at 7PM, followed by another 7PM Friday game against the Rockford IceHogs, and concluded with a 3PM afternoon game against the St. Johns IceCaps. Friday's game will be on LeafsTV and AM640, Saturday's on RogersTV.