Do you know what’s really weird to see? TJ Brennan, in the defensive zone, taking out Spencer Abbott. Yes, the top point and goal scorer of last year’s version of the Toronto Marlies now wears the red of the Rockford IceHogs. I don’t think that was his intent; he had signed a contract with the New York Islanders, only to get traded to the Blackhawks shortly thereafter. Probably not the one-way ticket to the NHL he was hoping for, but he’s still got a job to do and a team to play for, and the Marlies now have a responsibility to pick him apart and shut him (and the rest of his teammates) down. Neither team scored in the actual game, but in the shootout, the Marlies found a way to make it work, getting the 1-0 win.
Both teams were slow to generate much of anything in the first period, though more of Rockford’s pucks seemed to end up in the general direction of the net. After getting outshot 6-2 in the first fourteen minutes, the Marlies finished the period in control, particularly Troy Bodie; he had two legitimate scoring chances in the final four minutes, but failed to convert on both of them.
The second period was much like the first, in that it didn’t generate anything in the scoring department. But there were some interesting moments – David Broll was inches from scoring his first of the year, and Andrew MacWilliam dropped the gloves for the second time in as many days. Perhaps the best moment of period, however, came in the refusal of a fight. Tom Nilsson threw a disputable hit on Teuvo Teravainen, and when Brandon Mashinter dropped the gloves in his defence, Nilsson just started talking back, waiting for the ensuing powerplay.
Like the Leafs game last night, the two teams flat out refused to put a puck in the net by the end of regulation. The third period saw a couple of decent chances, but neither team put anything significant together. Overtime also ended up fruitless, but in the shootout, Spencer Abbott, Connor Brown, and Greg McKegg scored to give the team the win.
Gotta go with Antoine Bibeau this time. A total of 33 pucks came his way, and he stopped all of them for his first pro shutout. A few of those saves were quite nice; a windmill glove in the first period immediately comes to mind. His terrific run since Rookie Camp has shown no signs of stopping yet; maybe he’s made a talent jump after all?
- Josh Leivo was firing on all cylinders tonight, and took a team leading 6 shots. Today was probably the best he’s played to start the year; he was constantly involved in the play and doing good things.
- Beyond being a professional troll, Tom Nilsson looked pretty solid. A couple of really nice first passes and kept himself in good position from puck drop to final buzzer.
- I noticed that the Marlies ran three penalty killing units tonight, which included the entire defence core and half the forwards.
- Kudos to Patrick Watling, who blocked a shot in the third, hobbled to the bench in clear pain, and was back at full tilt before the end of the period. Impressive stuff.
- The power play failed to score on all three chances, while the penalty kill went a solid four for four.
- The Marlies return to Ricoh on Thursday night.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com