Photo credit:Steven Ellis/Daily Faceoff
Marlies Weekly: It’s time for Steeves, the Marlies split at home
By Bennett Jull3 months ago
The Toronto Marlies had the whole week off to prepare for back-to-back home games with the Manitoba Moose this past weekend. During that time we watched the Maple Leafs travel to Sweden where they picked up four points from their two games. Martin Jones made the trip over just in case, and I was disappointed that Pontus Holmberg wasn’t afforded the chance to at least travel home and be part of the festivities.
Nick Robertson, Bobby McMann, Simon Benoit and William Lagesson all featured in both games. McMann and Robertson were a little quiet, as the 3rd and 4th lines cooled off a bit. Benoit held his own in both contests, and I’ve seen enough of him now to have confidence that he’s an alright 7th defenceman at the NHL level.
William Lagesson continued his steady play and deserves some recognition for stepping up and not looking out of place at all during his run of games. While all the attention went to the other Swedish William, Lagesson must have thoroughly enjoyed playing in front of many friends and family.
Back to the Marlies, as they hosted Manitoba on Saturday afternoon. The boys must have been chomping at the bit, and it showed as they came out firing. Before the ten-minute mark of the first period they had chased Collin Delia, putting three goals past him. Logan Shaw, Alex Steeves, and Pontus Holmberg each tallied, while Shaw and Steeves would each add another later on in the match. Dmitry Ovchinnikov found the back of the net, and Tommy Miller potted his first of the season.
Shaw and Steeves led the way with two goals and an assist each. Steeves in particular has been fantastic recently. His scoring touch and steady all-around game have been very noticeable, more on him shortly. Dennis Hildeby stopped 16 of 18 shots as the Marlies dominated the Moose 7-2.
The two teams suited up yesterday (Sunday) for their second game. This time, the Moose came out strong. It was 2-0 after the first period. Alex Steeves got himself in the shooting lane and blocked a shot that led to a breakaway. He calmly dispatched it to put the Marlies within one. That’s as close as the Marlies would get, as Manitoba came out on top 4-2. Kieffer Bellows added the other Marlies goal.
It’s time to talk about Alex Steeves. He scored his team-leading 11th goal of the campaign and extended his point streak to 11 games. He currently sits second in the AHL in goals and points. He is potentially playing the best hockey we’ve seen him play, and he deserves to be called up. Ever since Ryan Reaves has become a healthy scratch, there is a 4th line role that has been up for grabs. Pontus Holmberg got a look, and Bobby McMann has played a few games alongside David Kampf and Noah Gregor. I think it’s time for Steeves to get a chance, his play has earned it.
Looking at the week ahead, the Marlies have a midweek clash at home on Tuesday against Lehigh Valley, before a home and home with Cleveland on Friday and Sunday. I’ll be very interested to see how the Maple Leafs d-core affects the Marlies lineup on Tuesday. Does Conor Timmins need a conditioning stint? Perhaps they deem he’s good enough to play, and maybe Simon Benoit is sent down? I really hope Alex Steeves is rewarded for his strong play and receives a call-up. I’ll see you back here next week!
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