It looks like just about everybody in the hockey world wants TJ Brennan, including the Rochester Americans and the referees. Fortunately for the Toronto Marlies, they called dibs on him yesterday in the trade that sent Spencer Abbott to the Chicago Blackhawks. Today was his return to the blue and white, and he immediately made an impact in a 4-3 come from behind win over the Rochester Americans.
This game was pretty even for most of the first period, until the Marlies got into penalty trouble. TJ Brennan picked up two minors at the same time, and with a minute to go in the second infraction, Andrew MacWilliam created a 5-on-3 situation with a high stick. Within seven seconds, Jake McCabe took advantage of the situation by firing a point shot past Christopher Gibson, and before MacWilliam’s penalty could end, Brayden Irwin deflected a second goal into the back of the net.
It seemed like Toronto’s problems were going to continue in the second period, as Allan MacPherson scored to widen the gap to 3-0 at the midway point. But Greg McKegg was quick to respond, scoring his twelfth of the year. Suddenly, the Marlies had life, and Byron Froese was determined to make that well known. Froese scored a shorthanded goal with four minutes to go in the period, and a minute and a half later, he added another one to tie the game.
The two teams desperately tried to get the next goal, taking some penalties and giving up some scoring chances in the process, but never fully executing on them. The game proceed to overtime, and eventually to 3-on-3 overtime. In those closing moments, Greg McKegg took in a pass from Josh Leivo and turned it into his second of the game and the winner.
Would’ve been easy to give this to McKegg, but I’m going to go with Byron Froese. Without those two goals, the Marlies are out of this game before the third period even starts. He now has 18 points in 24 games, which is more than anybody expected out of the 23 year old, who is still playing without an NHL contract.
- That said, great game for McKegg as well. Two goals and a +3.
- Christopher Gibson looked decent tonight, stopping 26 of 29 shots. That second goal in particular was near impossible to stop; Irwin had a wicked tip.
- TJ Brennan looked right at home today, and picked up an assist and two shots. I have a feeling as he gels with the guys who weren’t here last night, he’ll prove immensely valuable. Today, he was paired with Andrew MacWilliam, something that never happened much last season.
- Man, these two teams took a lot of penalties. I don’t know if the refs were over-excited or they were under-disciplined, but there were fifteen powerplays. Toronto couldn’t convert on any of theirs, and gave up the first two goals of the game while a man down. Beyond that, they killed the other eight, which isn’t terrible.
- The Marlies play their next game tomorrow night, against Adirondack.