The Toronto Marlies took the ice for four games this week, including three games in three nights. They finished off a seven-game road trip with games against the Milwaukee Admirals and the Hamilton Bulldogs, which was followed by a two-game homestand against the Chicago Wolves and the Lake Erie Monsters.
The game in Milwaukee was the Marlies’ second in as many nights, having taken highway 42 from Rockford up to Miltown for the first of two games they’ll play this season against the Admirals. Milwaukee struck first with a power play goal from Miikka Salomaki.
The Admirals dominated much of the first period, outshooting the Marlies 14-6. Wade Macleod evened things up for the Baby Leafs during the second frame. Garret Sparks was tested again in the second period, turning away all 15 Admiral shots. Salomaki scored another power play goal just seconds into the third period, reclaiming the lead for Milwaukee.
Colton Scissons added to the lead moments later to make it 3-1. The Marlies could not get much going again in the third period, only sending nine shots on goal whereas the Admirals managed 17. Greg McKegg scored a late goal but it was too late, as the Marlies fell 3-2.
Head coach Steve Spott wouldn’t have been happy with his team’s efforts during the game. The Marlies lacked discipline throughout the game and ended up taking 11 penalties. All goals surrendered by the Marlies were done so while shorthanded.
The Marlies played the final game of their road trip in Hamilton against the rival Bulldogs for their ninth meeting of their season. The teams had split the first eight games of the season series.
Greg McKegg opened the scoring for Toronto with Wade Macleod and T.J. Brennan drawing assists. There would be no other goals in the period, though Jarred Tinordi and David Broll would have their second fight of the year. Shortly thereafter another fight broke out, this time with Sam Carrick and Gabriel Dumont exchanging blows.
Jerry D’Amigo scored his sixth of the year in the second period, this time Kevin Marshall earning a helper. Hamilton tried to get on the scoreboard and despite taking the man advantage seven times during the game, they could not find the net. Drew MacIntyre finished the game with 32 saves for his first shutout of the year.
Back home for the second game of the weekend, the Marlies looked to find an answer for red hot goaltender Jake Allen and his Chicago Wolves. Both teams scored one in the opening period, Dmitrij Jaskin firing one home first and Brennan scoring second.
Chris Porter retook the lead for Chicago midway through the second period with a power play goal. The Marlies had ample opportunity to tie the game in the third period, getting three chances on the power play and outshooting the Wolves 10-6. It would all be for naught however as Allen resembled more of a brick wall than a goaltender for much of the game, which ended with a score of 2-1.
Lake Erie came into town for the Marlies’ last game of the weekend, looking for redemption after losing 5-1 to Toronto earlier in the season. The Monsters struck first, scoring twice in the first period and ensuring that the Marlies would have an uphill battle for the rest of the game.
Before the period was over, the Marlies would make a stab at getting back into the game. Stuart Percy scored his first goal of the year to cut Lake Erie’s lead in half going into the break. The second period was a goalie’s battle as both teams had nine shots each, the netminders turning aside them all. The Marlies came out hot for the final period with Jamie Devane picking up his second goal of the season to tie the game.
Though the Marlies would have two power play chances to take the lead, the Monsters would stand tall and send the game into overtime. When extra time couldn’t break the tie, the game went into a shootout. Spencer Abbott and the newly acquired Brandon Kozun both scored while their counterparts were denied by MacIntyre, winning the game for Toronto.
Three Stars of the Week:
Third star: Drew MacIntyre and Garret Sparks
The two netminders shouldered the burden together this week, both of them starting two of the team’s games. Sparks, who has had trouble transitioning into pro hockey since leaving junior, stopped all but five of the 76 shots sent his way, good for a save percentage of .934. MacIntyre had his first shutout of the season and turned aside 60 of the 62 shots he faced, collecting a tidy .967 save percentage.
Second star: T.J. Brennan
With a goal and two assists in his four games, the T.J. Brennan train kept on chugging this week. The blueliner was a tad snake-bit this week, converting just one of his 16 shots into goals. At this pace, it seems unlikely anyone will stop Brennan from laying claim to the Eddie Shore Award.
First star: Greg McKegg
Kegger’s ascendance through the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect system has continued this season after a disappointing rookie AHL season. McKegg’s consistency has improved under Steve Spott as he surpassed his debut season’s point total with a goal against Hamilton, taking 28 fewer games this time around. McKegg had two goals and two assists this week.