The Toronto Marlies played three games this past week, first travelling to Cleveland for a game against the Lake Erie Monsters before heading back to Toronto for meetings with the Milwaukee Admirals and Abbotsford Heat.
The last time the Marlies and Monsters faced off was in a memorable triple-header just a couple weeks ago. The final two games were highlighted by action between whistles, as 10 times players squared off for fights and the officials handed out 335 penalty minutes.
This edition of the Marlies-Monsters rivalry was a tad more disciplined, as one fight broke out early in the first period between David Broll and Guillaume Desbiens but that would be the only bout in the game.
Michael Schumacher opened scoring in the second period with his sixth of the year to give Lake Erie the lead. Trevor Smith and Josh Leivo replied quickly to give the Marlies a 2-1 lead, though Stefan Elliott would tie things up for the Monsters going into the final period. Both teams scored a goal each in the last 20 minutes to send the game into overtime, and when that solved nothing, a shootout would be needed. Smith and Jerry D’Amigo scored the only goals in the shootout, winning the game for Toronto 4-3. With two assists in the game, Spencer Abbott has now broken the Marlies’ record for assists in a season.
Back home and with a couple days rest, the Marlies and Admirals faced off for their second and final game of the season, the first a 3-2 Milwaukee victory. The Marlies weren’t exactly bad in the game, outshooting their opposition 12-8 in the first period and 31-27 overall, but as many a player has said, the bounces just didn’t go their way that game. The Marlies were unable to solve goaltender Scott Darling whereas the Admirals were clinical (and a tad lucky) in front of the Toronto net, scoring a pair of goals in each of the first and second periods. Smith scored just 11 seconds into the third period but the hole would be too deep for the Marlies to climb out of, the game finishing 5-1 Milwaukee.
Clearly eager to bounce back with a win, the Marlies came out firing on all cylinders against Abbotsford, taking advantage of an early and a long stretch of five-on-three hockey to pepper the Heat net with shots. It ended up being D’Amigo who broke the tie with his 19th goal of the season. After their early dominance the Marlies let off the gas, resulting in Abbotsford controlling much of the rest of the period, Zach Davies’ first goal of the season tied things up for the Heat going into the second period.
The teams traded goals again in the second period, this time Corey Locke and Carter Ashton were the scorers as both goals came by way of the man advantage. The third period was tighter defensively – nether team wanting to give up what could easily be the deciding goal. It took another power play for more scoring to come, as Max Reinhart was given a major penalty for boarding with less than five minutes to go, meaning the Marlies would play the remainder of regulation with the man advantage. Captain Smith was the scorer again, winning the game with his eighth of the season.
Three Stars of the Week
Third Star: Spencer Abbott
Abbott has consistently produced throughout the Marlies’ season, and this week was no different. His two-assist performance against Lake Erie set a new Marlies’ record for assists in a season at 52.
Second Star: Korbinian Holzer
The big mean German registered points in every game this week, with one goal and two assists. With five goals and 13 assists the defender is having his best offensive season to date, even being used as the point man on the Marlies second power-play unit.
First Star: Trevor Smith
The Marlies’ captain has been red-hot since being sent down from the Leafs. A long stint on injured reserve and 27 games with the Leafs seem to have conditioned Smith well for a Marlies playoff run, he has a point in every game but one since returning to the AHL. With a goal in each game and one assist, Smith takes this week’s first star honours.