After a disappointing 5-1 loss against the Milwaukee Admirals yesterday afternoon, the Toronto Marlies had to come into today with clear minds and an eagerness to rebound from their prior mistakes. Their opponents today were the Abbotsford Heat, hot off the heels of a 5-1 game themselves, in their case a win against Hamilton. Would it be the home team’s wakeup call or the visitor’s momentum that ruled the day? Somehow, it was both. The Marlies stormed out to start, the Heat took over for most of the game, and a major penalty gave Toronto the last push they needed to pull out a 3-2 win.
Toronto started the first period like a crazed man with a minigun. An early pair of Abbotsford penalties certainly helped the cause, but just four and a half minutes into the game, and the Marlies had already taken 11 shots. Most important of the bunch were a one timer fired from the point by Korbinian Holzer, and Jerry D’Amigo’s rebound to open the scoring just two seconds later. But the Heat recovered and began their slow trickle back into control, which included their own powerplay goal at the midway mark of the period. By the time the two teams went to intermission, the gap had shrunk to 14-12.
Abbotsford picked up right where they left off in the second, earning themselves a breakaway just a couple of seconds in. Garret Sparks was equal to the task, which would be recording throughout the period, facing 15 more before the end. One did pass by him though as Corey Locke trickled a low speed one timer past him from close range about nine minutes in. Within five minutes, however, the game was tied once again, as Peter Holland fed Carter Ashton a gimme of a cross-crease setup;.
The third period was centred around neutral zone play, and the shot count stayed low, until Max Reinhart was tossed for boarding with four and a half minutes to go. Toronto regained some of the momentum from the start of the game, and poured pucks on Joni Ortio, until Josh Leivo took a cross-crease pass from Peter Holland and gave the Marlies the lead. Ortio was pulled for an extra attacker afterwards, but no more scoring occurred as the game came to a close.
- Garret Sparks got the start today, and looked much better than his fill-in time yesterday. Made a bunch of big saves to keep the Marlies in it, and couldn’t really be blame for the goals against. 31 saves on 33 shots is a stellar performance on his part.
- Carter Ashton now as 14 goals in 18 AHL games this year. I really think the Leafs should try to give him some offensive minutes at some point; I feel like he’d be much better with quality linemates.
- Greg McKegg, and Brandon Kozun were scratched today. Neither are hurt; a healthy Leafs roster means an abundance of Marlies players, and a rotation system. Tonight was their night out, with the top six overflowing.
- Andrew MacWilliam lost a tooth, Carter Ashton recieved eight stitches, and Jerry D’Amigo had to get his arm wrapped up. All stayed in the game. That’s some old time hockey stuff right there.
- Korbinian Holzer was tied with Ashton for most shots on net tonight, with five.
- All five goals tonight were scored on the powerplay, with 15 man advantages given.
- Toronto took 12 shots in the first five minutes, and took 53 minuts and 33 shots against to get their next dozen. Steve Spott considers it more of a credit to Abbotsford than a failure of his team.
- The Marlies play their next game on Tuesday morning. It’s the last school day game of the year, so have your earplugs ready!