For the Toronto Marlies, games like today’s are ones you’re expected to feast on, but actually dread. Yes, the struggling Abbotsford Heat had won just 1 of 11 games leading up to today. It sounds advantageous, but stats like that lead to taking games too easily, while the struggling opponents have an extra sense in urgency. Sure enough, that was the case here tonight, as the blue and white dropped this one 4-2.
The Marlies actually started this game on top; while their first powerplay was unsuccessful, a mistake by Danny Taylor lead to Greg Scott having a gimmie rebound in front of the net to give Toronto an early lead. This lasted just three minutes, however, as former Leafs prospect fired a wrist shot off of Paul Ranger’s stick and past Drew MacIntyre to tie the game.
The second period saw Abbotsford take the lead as Dylan Yeo sat in the box, firing a slapshot off the post and in from the hashmarks. It was one of two one timer goals by the Heat in this period, as just five minutes later, Akim Aliu came streaking into the slot to put home his second of the year. Toronto took four penalties leading to powerplays in this period alone, so it’s not a surprise that Abbotsford had control of the flow. That said, if there was any victory for the team tonight, it involved fists, as Carter Ashton took down Greg Nemisz late in the period.
The third period went by quickly, but not without a bit more action. Carter Bancks widened the gap to 4-1 just two minutes in, and Danny Taylor stayed calm in net as Toronto peppered him with shots, though Joe Colborne tipped a Simon Gysbers point shot to give the Marlies a second goal in the final minute.
- I’m finally confident with saying that Jake Gardiner is ready to play with the Leafs again. We’ve seen a couple consecutive weeks of improvement back to form, and today, whie he was a -1, he showed that he’s comfortable with playing in the corners again. As well, he continues to get back to actuallly shooting the puck, and has variety in his passing outlets. Basically, the stuff we knew and loved him for on the big club (minus the shooting, which was a recent pleasent surprise that people were hoping would carry over).
- Drew MacIntyre wasin’t going to stay invisible forever, as today’s game was his first with a sub-0.900 save percentage. It’s not hard to come to his defence tonight, though – two goals were high quality one timers, and one came off his own defender’s stick. But still, not an overwhelmingly impressive game by him. I wouldn’t be shocked if Jussi Rynnas is given the start tomorow.
- Paul Ranger lead the team with 3 shots.
- Jesse Blacker was out of the lineup today. No confirmation one way or the other, but with his stellar play of late, it’s safe to assume he was out with an injury.
- Jerry D’Amigo was far from reckless, but with tripping and high sticking penalties against him in the second period, he may want to watch his stick.
- Never underestimate a Toronto team’s ability to snap the slumps of their opponents.
- Attendance was 5252.
- Tomorrow sees the Marlies face off against the Peoria Rivermen. Get your "Bus ride…" jokes ready for 3PM.
Photo courtesy TSGPhoto.com