While many Torontonians feverishly cruised around the city,
looking to save 31% on items that are usually 30% off, over seven thousand
hockey fans filled up Ricoh Coliseum for some Boxing Day hockey. As always, the
Toronto Marlies took on the Hamilton Bulldogs in what has become an annual tradition
for the two teams. For the blue and white, this may be their best showing yet,
taking this one 4-0 over their North Division rivals.
While the opening minutes were something that coach Gord Dineen
would later call disorganized on the part of both teams, Toronto found
themselves in good position to take control relatively early. With Joe Finley
in the penalty box, Matt Frattin opened the scoring for the home team, tapping
in a goalmouth bouncer for his sixth of the year. Just a few minutes later,
Brad Ross surprised with a snipe that was unlike many of his other shots. The
Marlies carried this period, at one point going on a 13-1 shot run over sixteen
minutes. Before it could close, Spencer Abbott added a goal of his own to widen
the gap even further.
The pace of the game slowed down in the second period, as
the Marlies looked to shut things down. It bled into the third as well, but
players began to loosen up and experiment with some things that they normally
wouldn’t do. Jamie Devane was one of those guys, and he was rewarded for it with
an assist, setting up Troy Bodie for his fifth goal of the season. Devane would
later drop the gloves with Shanen Bakker, giving the fans one last highlight
before the final buzzer.
Christopher Gibson didn’t have to do a ton – he only faced
twenty four shots and not very many of them were quality opportunities. But he
was steady and got into the line of fire when they needed him to – and earned
himself his first career shutout.
I wish I was hyping up how Carter Ashton is biting at the
legs, looking to get back into the NHL, but I didn’t really notice him much
tonight. One shot, and while it was a reasonable chance, I often forgot he was
Stuart Percy and Josh Leivo were both out with injuries.
Colton Orr, Frazer McLaren, Carson McMillan, Byron Froese, and Denver Manderson
were healthy scratches.
Petter Granberg was steady today, but possibly the weirdest
choice I’ve ever seen for first star of the game.
Greg McKegg, Troy Bodie, and Viktor Loov all shared the team
lead in shots, with four a piece.
Toronto killed off all four powerplays that it had against
it, and capitalized of one of its four opportunities. Decent night by the
It was really nice to see a decent crowd. Attendance hasn’t
been up to the standards of prior seasons this year, so it was cool to get a
bit of noise. Even as someone sitting in the press box, you appreciate it.
The Marlies have two more games this weekend, taking a brief
road trip tomorrow and returning to Ricoh on Sunday.
Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com