Watching today’s game, I’m brought back to 2011/12. The Toronto Marlies opened thier season with one of the most repetative Octobers that professional hockey has ever seen. Most apparent? Five games against the Lake Erie Monsters. In a month. It formed enough hate that now-Avs grinder Patrick Bordeleau decided that his anger was best placed on Matt Lashoff’s knees. Thankfully for the sake of the fans, teams, and body parts, the two teams don’t see each other again for another month.
Today featured both teams in a bit of a tired state. Lineups stayed similar to to previous games for both teams, and each was on a consecutive night. Toronto of course won their home opener in the same building yesterday; Lake Erie came in for their third straight game after playing a pair against the Abbotsford Heat in Cleveland on Friday and Saturday. Both teams even ran with yesterday’s goaltenders, so it became a battle of skill rather than energy. The end result? The Marlies improved to 2-0-0 with a 5-1 win.
The first period lacked two things. The first was scoring, with none of the combined 17 shots beating Drew MacIntyre or Calvin Pickard. The second thing? Late period discipline. Probably a example of the schedules getting to the players already, both teams combined for five separate minor penalties in the span of six minutes.
The scoreboard got a bit more usage in the second period. While on the penalty kill, the Marlies gained offensive control, and Trevor Smith’s attempt turned into Tyler Biggs’ reward, as he rebounded in his first of the season. The lead wasn’t everlasting, however. As Brad Ross sat int he box for a goaltender inteference call, Mark Olver earned himself a breakaway. He lost control, but an unexpectant MacIntyre let it squeak through his five-hole. Not to be outdone though, the Marlies came back with a powerplay goal of their own. Trevor Smith kicked a puck down to his stick and chipped a knuckler past Pickard to leave Toronto ahead after two.
Trevor Smith wasted no time in the third period . Just a minute and a half in, he took in a Spencer Abbott pass to extend the lead to 3-1. From that point on, the pace slowed to a crawl, before the Monsters pulled their goalie with three minutes to go. T.J. Brennan capitalized on the opportunity and scored his 4th of the year with a little over two minutes left, and Greg McKegg followed with his own empty netter to secure the final score.
Quotes and Notes for the whole weekend coming tomorrow. Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com