Sometimes, when you get offered the opportunity to go on a trip with eight hours notice, you take it. The good news is that I had a lot of fun in Manhattan this weekend. The bad news? We didn’t have coverage of either of the Marlies’ games this weekend. That’s on me, but now that we’re here, let’s catch up a bit:
Saturday Febuary 13th (3-1 Loss)
The first game of the mini-series had a deceptive start, with Andrew Campbell banging in his own rebound to put the Marlies up 1-0 just three minutes in. If you didn’t look at the scoresheet for the rest of the game, you’d think that this was one where that momentum would carry them forward; St. John’s took four of the next five penalties, and Toronto took 60% of the game’s shots.
Things didn’t go quite that way, though; Vic Bartley pinched to tap home Bud Holloway’s fantastic individual effort midway through the second, and with five minutes remaining in the third and William Nylander in the penalty box, Charles Hudon put his team up with his 16h of the year. Holloway sealed the deal with an empty-netter.
Sunday February 14th (2-1 Win)
Just a few hours later, the two teams matched up at Mile One Centre one again, and Toronto was not willing to let this game go the same way as the last time around. Toronto fired a whopping 46 pucks in Eddie Pasquale’s way though only one man was able to make his shots cross the line. Thankfully for them, Brett Findlay did it twice; once early in the second, and once early in the third to give his team a multi-goal lead. The ever-so-persistent Holloway tried to spark a rally with a late-third powerplay goal, but the Marlies held on for a victory that was deserved, and based on the day before, slightly overdue.
We’ve talked a lot about how much this team has dominated the league, but here’s some other food for thought. Toronto’s estimated Fenwick Close is 53.56%; good for fourth in the league. Their goal differential has dipped slightly to 70, but they’re still 26 ahead of Wilkes-Barre. Toronto remains a top-end team on both sides of the puck, averaging the 4th most shots per game while giving up the 12th fewest. Their 11.24% shooting and 0.917 SV% are both in the top five of the league as well.
To add to this weeks stats, Antoine Bibeau was a 0.905 on Saturday after stopping 19 of 21 shots on goal. Conversely, Garret Sparks bounced back from his blowout loss to Binghamton to stop 28 of 29 on Sunday (0.966).
Player of the Week
There weren’t many multi-point scorers on this relatively quiet weekend, so you gotta go for the multi-goal scorer, no? Brett Findlay’s pair secured a victory on Sunday and tripled his total for the year. He’s not exactly in the long-term plans of the organization, but he’s been serviceable temporary depth for the team at the AHL and ECHL levels for the past few years.
The Marlies have two games this weekend, with barely a break in between. Toronto will first drop the puck in a Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla battle on Friday night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and follow that up with a game at the Air Canada Centre against the Portland Pirates. The latter game has been rescheduled to 1:30 PM; mark your calendars and tickets now so you don’t forget on the day of!