Toronto Marlies Report: Winning Streak, McKegg Impresses


The Toronto Marlies are on a hot streak right now, as they have won four straight games and hope to continue the push into the playoffs.

Winning four games in a row is a big feat for the Toronto Marlies, and is couldn’t have come at a better time. The team will complete its four game home stand versus rivals and 8th place Hamilton Bulldogs on Mar. 28 and find themselves one point behind that last playoff spot and with the win, can squeeze into that spot.

The Marlies started off their home stand with a massive 2-1 win vs. Lake Erie Monsters where forward Greg McKegg scored the team’s two goals, his 15th and 16th of the season.

Forward Brendan Leispic and defence man Petter Granberg recorded the assists on McKegg’s first goal and defence man Brendan Mikkelson and forward Josh Leivo recorded the assists on McKegg’s second of the night. Goalie Christopher Gibson was in between the pipes and stopped 29 of 30 shots in the win.

The next day the Marlies hosted the 14th place Rochester Americans in a game where the Marlies really needed the two points.

The American’s struck first with a goal by defence man Drew Bagnall but two minutes later, Marlies forward William Nylander (7) put the Marlies on the board and it was just what the team needed – as they never looked back. After a scoreless second period, forward Matt Frattin (20) put one in the back of the net to open the third period and shortly thereafter, McKegg potted his third goal in two games and Leivo stuck the dagger right into the American’s hearts with the last tally of the night and his 10th of the season.

McKegg also added an assist on Nylander’s first period goal. Gibson was in net once again, allowing one goal on 24 shots.

On Mar. 25, the Marlies played the fifth place Oklahoma City Barons in search to prolong their win streak. In a tight first period, the Barons were up 1-0 at the first intermission. Then the Marlies captain Troy Bodie took it upon himself and scored his 8th of the season with an assist from Denver Manderson. Less than a minute later, the Marlies gave up another tally to be down 2-1 going into the third period.

After two goals by Byron Froese, who is fresh off a minor league contract, the Marlies squeaked out a much needed 4-2 win. Gibson was in net yet again, and recorded his 20th win of the season while stopping 21 pucks on 23 shots.

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As stated above, the Marlies finish up their home stand with a crucial game versus the Hamilton Bulldogs and then travel to Rochester on Mar. 29 and return home on Apr. 1 for a game versus Chicago Wolves.

Other Notes

-The Marlies playoff hopes look promising, and that is a positive that Leaf fans can take out of this season. With their young team, they have pushed their way into a playoff position and if the young players get that experience, it will do wonders for the Leafs in the future.

-Earlier today on Mar. 26, McKegg was called up to the Toronto Maple Leafs on an emergency basis, making hims game time decision for tomorrow’s game vs. Bulldogs.

-Gibson has solidified himself as the Marlies starter moving forward, leaving 20 year-old Antoine Bibeau with back-up duties.

-Head coach Gord Dinnen has all the praise in the world for rookie William Nylander, saying in an article published by the National Post, “He’s driving the game,” said Marlies head coach Dineen. “Definitely, his puck management has been better. He’s not forcing plays anymore. If the play is there, he’s making it and he’s shooting the puck more. I think it’s giving him more options because teams knew he was a team-first guy and now he’s shooting more and they have to respect that.” Dinnen also noted Nylander is putting in work at the gym and staying on the ice late after practices to continue to improve his game.

Next: 2002 Draft Perspective

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