March 28 2014 10:15PM
While the Toronto Maple Leafs continue to fall further into the abyss, their AHL affiliates seem to be taking the opposite approach, catching fire down the gate. The goaltending, for the most part, has been stellar. The offence has been plentiful. The defence has shut down a lot of good minor league players and many well known prospects, and in their last seven games, they've won six.
The most important thing for them to end this season? Take the Rochester Americans as priority number one. Today was game two of a 5 matchups in 14 game stretch, and the Amerks are the only team that could realistically catch up to the Marlies in the North Division. But, with a 4-2 win tonight, the rear view mirror is looking suspiciously empty.
The first period was the most action packed, with the two teams combining for 24 shots. This was encouraged by the four powerplays scattered across it, with each team getting to cracks at opening the scoring. At the trail end of Phil Varone's double minor, Carter Ashton redirected a slapshot from Stuart Percy behind Andrey Makarov, just thirty seconds before the end of the period.
Joel Armia tied the game early in the second period, but Brad Staubitz regained Toronto's lead with a gritty effort in front of the net at the midway point. Less than a minute into the third period, the game was tied once again by a powerplay goal courtesy of former Leafs prospect Brayden Irwin, but with five and a half minutes to go, Sam Carrick took in a very nice pass from David Broll and scored his 8th of the season for the game winner. Trevor Smith added an empty netter.
Drew MacIntyre started in his first game since rejoining the team, and made 24 saves on 26 shots. A solid, if not predictable performance. He also brought out his new mask for it's first game.
Carter Ashton and TJ Brennan each took 5 shots tonight. Ashton is now up to 15 goals in 20 games with the Marlies this year, 10 of them coming even strength. Of any skater with 15+ goals, only Tyler Toffoli has had a higher goals per game ratio.
- The Marlies only gave up 26 shots tonight; much improved after a questionable weekend prior.
- Along with his GWG, Sam Carrick had a fight with Kevin Porter in the first period. Nothing spectacular, an even tilt.
- Tyler Biggs drew back into the lineup tonight, taking one shot.
- The Marlies play their next game tomorrow at Ricoh Coliseum, against the Iowa Wild. It's a 3PM start.
Photo (from Sunday) courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com