April 25 2014 09:41PM
"We'll play this crucial playoff game, but first.. let us take a selfie"
Being good for seventy six games is fun, and probably indicates that you're a good hockey team in your respective league. But these men don't play for pats on the back and "hey, you ranked pretty well", they play for trophies. Well, and being called up to the Leafs, but that's besides the point and at this second impossible. The Toronto Marlies began their push for the Calder Cup today, and with a 6-2 win, are off to a running start.
The scoring was opened late into the first period. With Taylor Beck and Jerred Smithson both in their respective penalty boxes for minor infractions, the two teams played four on four hockey when opportunity stuck. Greg McKegg pushed towards the net and attempted to make a move, but was shut down. Sam Carrick took advantage of the now loose puck behind the net, quickly brought it in front, and tucked in the only goal of the period.
In the opening minute of the second period, Toronto found themselves on the powerplay. With some quick puck distribution, the puck eventually made its way to Josh Leivo, who took a step in and wristed home another to widen the gap. A few minutes later, Frazer McLaren threw this not very subtle but very "I'm huge and you aren't, this is going to end badly" hit to the head:
It didn't lead to much though, other than a killed two minute minor. However, Milwaukee did end up gap with a goal from Patrick Cehlin, who crept into the slot for a point blank one timer to beat Drew MacIntyre glove side. The Marlies came back very energetic, however, and regained their two goal lead just a minute later, courtesy of a point shot from TJ Brennan.
The third period also brought a quick trade of goals. Brennan once again threw a puck on net from downtown, and this time, Jerry D'Amigo deflected it past Marek Mazanec to make it 4-1. Filip Forsberg responded with a powerplay slapper that tricked into the net to make it 4-2, but that was the closest the game was going to to get. Kenny Ryan potted a shorthanded empty netter, soon to be followed by another courtesy of Carrick to end the game.
Drew MacIntyre probably wants that second goal back, but 28 saves on 30 shots is the kind of performance this team needs from him and usually gets. If he's this consistent down the stretch, they're in good shape.
Another two goals for Sam Carrick. It's getting a little lucky at this point, but he's done a good job at earning the opportunities he gets. That first goal was a smart play by him to shadow the loose puck.
TJ Brennan was named first star, and looks like he's going to continue putting up video game numbers in the playoffs as well. Both he and Carrick lead the team in shots with four.
Jerry D'Amigo's goal came on his only "shot", and he was a +3. I buy the "playoff clutch" tag (as a whole) less and less with every year that passes, but if there's a guy on this team who deserves it, his 23 points in 27 playoff games with the Marlies definitely lead one to believe that it's him.
Game two is at 8PM tomorrow, still in Milwaukee. Remember, this is a best of five series, so every one of these games is significant.