April 05 2014 05:13PM
Are you over "Game 7" yet? No? You never will be? Okay. Good to know we're all on the same page. You might be asking, however, what exactly this has to do with the Toronto Marlies. Well, it may be a regular season game, but today was a pretty good impression of what happened to the big club last May.
The Marlies started this game off with a bang. Sam Carrick repaired a somewhat scattered breakout and streaked into the offensive zone, finding Brad Ross, who tallied his sixth of the season just forty two seconds in. It took Toronto another four and a half minutes to get their second shot on net, but on a powerplay, Josh Leivo took his time, waited for the right moment and fired a snapshot behind Andrey Makarov to widen the gap to 2-0. At this point, Toronto began to regain control of the actual flow of the game, and closed the first period looking pretty solid.
In the second, however, they appeared to fall back and protect the lead. This sometimes works, and sometimes blows up in your face. In this case, it looked to have potential to do the latter, but Christopher Gibson was fighting off pucks with expert precision, and with 20 seconds left, Leivo tapped in a behind the net pass from Trevor Smith to make it 3-0. Safe lead, right?
Well, if yesterday's second period against the Comets was the worst of the season, it wasn't for very long. With sixteen minutes left in the game, the Amerks threw the puck on net. Timmy Schaller sees through the scramble and beats Christopher Gibson. 3-1. With three and a half minutes left in the game, the Amerks threw the puck on net. Timmy Schaller sees through the scramble and makes it 3-2. With a minute left in the game, the Amerks threw the puck on net. Timmy Schaller sees through the scramble and puts the puck in the net. The play is reviewed, and it crossed the line on time and in proper fashion. To seal the deal, just fifteen seconds later, Phil Varone ripped a wrister past Gibson and gave the Amerks the lead and the win.
Christopher Gibson started in net for the Marlies today, and was lights out for most of the game. He stopped the first 30 some-odd shots, and three of the four goals came from massive scrambles. He really should have had the game winner, though.
Eric Knodel had another game where he wasn't particularly astonishing one way or another. That's really all I expect out of him at this point, though. Like yesterday, he was paired with Korbinian Holzer, and even saw some penalty killing time.
Former Leafs college signing Brayden Irwin had the primary assist on all four Rochester goals. Irwin had 7 goals and 8 assists in 48 games for the Leafs and Marlies in his time here, by comparison.
I really liked the Ross-Carrick-Broll line that the team ran today. Plenty gritty and capable of actually playing.
Leivo's pair of goals give him 20 on the season, the first Marlies rookie to ever hit the mark (Nazem Kadri had 17 in 44).
TJ Brennan lead the team with three shots. He also an assist on the first Leivo goal and was a -1.
More telling then the goal collapse was the shot collapse, as the Marlies were outshot 34-9 in the final 40 minutes. That goes beyond score effects and into just awful. Games like this are an argument against defending your lead, unless you're on the verge of running up the score.
Since the divisional "magic number" hit 1, the Marlies are 0-2-0 and the Americans are 3-0-0. No way this can keep up... right?
No surprises as Fabrice Herzog remained a
scratch and Carter Verhaeghe hasn’t been added to the roster yet. Steve Spott
mentioned this week that he wants them both to know the system before they draw
in, and Verhaeghe is at a year-end banquet tonight. He'll join the team as early as tomorrow, though he'll be a healthy scratch when they take on Utica at 3PM.