The Marlies traveled south for their games this week, playing three games in three nights after a three day break. Starting on the 30th and finishing on the 1st their matchups came against the Oklahoma City Barons, the San Antonio Rampage, and the Texas Stars.
A familiar face was in the opposing lineup for the Marlies’ game against OKC, former captain Ryan Hamilton made his first appearance against his former club since signing with (Oklahoma NHL affiliate) Edmonton last offseason.
So it was somewhat poetic when Hamilton opened scoring for the Barons, sniping home a wrist shot past Drew Macintyre for his sixth of the year.
The second period was a tad more rousing, the teams combined for four goals (two each) in the final ten and a half minutes of the frame, as well as twelve penalties and a fight between Sam Carrick and Steve Pinizzotto.
The game reached boiling point early in the third when Steve Musil boarded a kneeling Tyler Biggs during a rush for the puck, Brad Ross attempted to respond and received three roughing minors for his actions. TJ Brennan tied the game up minutes later but Oklahoma scored twice late in the period, downing the Marlies 5-3.
Next up for the Marlies was the San Antonio Rampage who the Marlies beat 4-2 earlier in the season. San Antonio sported pink jerseys for the game and the two teams played atop ice of the same hue, as it was Pink in the Rink night on the 28th for San Antonio, a breast cancer awareness event.
Despite totalling just seven shots in the period San Antonio scored twice, Bobby Butler notching both goals, the second being a gift from Garret Sparks who coughed up the puck to Butler after San Antonio iced the puck on a Marlies powerplay. Andrew MacWilliam and Tyler Biggs both took on Rampage players for fights in the period, perhaps sparking the Marlies to have a better second period.
Brandon Kozun scored early to cut San Antonio’s in half late in the second but this was quickly erased by a Greg Rallo goal that opened the third, putting the game at 3-1.
The Marlies pressured the Rampage after Rallo’s goal, desperate to even the score. A Tyler Biggs shot trickled through Jacob Markstrom’s pads before sliding slowly by the goalline, San Antonio would argue the referee’s call but the goal would stand.
Into the game’s dying breaths the Marlies pressed on, Sam Carrick and Jerry D’Amigo made a final rush as the clock ran down, Carrick’s shot was stopped before the rebound slid straight to D’Amigo, who sniped the puck into the yawning cage, effectively sending the game to overtime.
In the extra frame the Marlies took advantage of an early powerplay, toying with the Rampage with their passing-oriented powerplay before Brandon Kozun finished the game with a one timer past Markstrom.
In their third and final game of the stretch the Marlies had the Western Division leading Texas Stars to contend with. The Marlies ran into penalty trouble early, playing nearly half of the first period short-handed. Texas was denied on the man advantage but Mike Hedden would score with one of his seven shots on the night.
Tempers flared in the second period, the teams combined for 46 penalty minutes in the frame and squared off for three fights. Texas took advantage of the obviously agitated and tired Marlies, scoring three goals in the period.
The third period continued the rough stuff, forty more PIMS were handed out and the Stars expanded their lead twice more, the game finishing with a score of 6-0.
Three Stars of the Week
Third Star: T.J. Brennan
Brennan continued his point-per-game pace this week, scoring once and recording two assists in his three games. He also showed another facet of his game, going for big hits frequently and getting in his second fight of the year.
Second Star: Spencer Abbott
The Marlies’ leading scorer also maintained his torrid pace this week, putting up two goals and three assists in the Marlies’ two games where they managed to get on the board.
First Star: Brandon Kozun
The newest edition of the Marlies had his best stretch of play this week, getting three assists and two goals, including the overtime winner against San Antonio. He had zero points in three games leading up to his two assist performance against Oklahoma City.