The Toronto Marlies failed to record their seventh win in eight games, as they lost to the Lake Erie Monsters 4-3 in overtime last night. Despite the loss, Toronto picked up a point and there were a few other positive signs to take away from the game. Here are some things that stood out.
Ryan Hamilton ties record
Hamilton scored his tenth goal of the campaign early on in the first period, which gave him 74 as a member of the Toronto Marlies. The goal tied him with Jeremy Williams for the most all-time in a Marlies uniform, since the organization moved to Toronto in 2005. For those who don’t remember Williams, he was quite the prolific scorer in the AHL and showed some flashes of brilliance at the NHL level as well. Always felt the Leafs should have given him a longer look.
Penalty Killing back on track
Dallas Eakins would have had to be concerned early on this year with the Marlies inconsistent penalty killing. Toronto had been the best in the AHL for two years when down a man, and it was a big reason why they were able to make a Calder Cup run in 2011-12. Once again it seems to be firing on all cylinders as the Marlies were a perfect 5-for-5 against the Monsters and have now killed off 12 straight penalties.
It was clear to see that something was missing last night from the Marlies lineup. That something was three key players that won’t be back until after Boxing Day at the earliest. Jake Gardiner (head/neck), Nazem Kadri (hip), and Mike Zigomanis (shoulder) are all contributors that Toronto obviously relies on heavily. In their absence some younger players are going to get more minutes and will need to step up if the Marlies hope to continue to climb in the standings.
Signs of life from Joe Colborne
Colborne has just one goal in 23 games this year and is not developing as fast as the Leafs organization would have liked. However, on Wednesday he played one of his better games of the season. Colborne notched two assists and was skating very well, while being a physical presence. With the injuries the team is dealing with they are going to need him to step up and contribute on a more regular basis.