When the standings decided that the Toronto Marlies were going to face the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round, I was expecting the blue and white to be in a bit of an uphill battle. After all, this was a team that beat Toronto in both regular season games. But contrary to the past, Toronto outscored their 6th seed opponent 11-4 in the first two games, winning both. This set up a potential sweep today, which ended up going down with a 2-0 win.
This game started off slow and steady, with the puck mostly in the Milwaukee zone, but began to get chippy midway through the period. This started with a collision between Sam Carrick and Colton Scissons, and spilled over to the rest of the period. Toronto managed to get two powerplays before time expired, but neither brought significant scoring opportunities, let alone goals.
The Marlies had a slow start to the second period, which included a couple of untimely penalties. They came out unscathed however, and pushed forward. Late in the period, Andrew MacWilliam threw a hit that caused some anger from his opponents, and just like the last period, physicality appeared to turn the tide for the home team. A late powerplay gave the Marlies a chance to capitalize, and they did. Jerry D’Amigo sent a cross crease pass to Greg McKegg, who took advantage of the wide open net to score the games’s first goal with two and a half minutes to go in the period.
Toronto also had a powerplay to begin the third period, but couldn’t capitalize on it. But they did get earn some more offensive zone time, and pushed throughout the period to extend their lead. TJ Brennan potted an empty netter to seal the deal.
- Drew MacIntyre started in goal, as expected. He pulled off one of his best performances of the year, stopping all 29 shots, earning his first shutout of the postseason.
- Carter Ashton and Andrew MacWilliam returned to the lineup today after missing time to injury. Both seemed completely up to speed and showed no hesitance in playing their game. Ashton created a couple of scoring chances, and MacWilliam was aggressive on the puck.
- The MacWilliam hit I mentioned in the second period wasn’t actually all that bad. He made clean initial contact, but as Jarnkrok went back, he bumped into Smith and lost his helmet. The Admirals players saw this and looked to retaliate for something that basically didn’t exist. To be fair, I thought he bowled him over himself at first glance.
- Kenny Ryan blocked a pile of shots today, probably more than any individual player took. He had a pair towards the net of his own.
- TJ Brennan’s empty netter was on his 6th shot, which lead both teams.
- The powerplay was inconsistent, but it got them both of their goals. The penalty kill was perfect, so a solid special team performance overall.
- Attendance was a modest 5691. We’ll see if that picks up in Round 2.