Toronto Marlies Report – January 20

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Photo: Marlies.ca

This past week, the Toronto Marlies were looking at games three and four of their current seven-game road trip after garnering three out of four points the previous weekend in St. John’s. The Marlies played the Iowa Wild (Minnesota) on Wednesday and the Chicago Wolves (St. Louis) on Friday. Toronto won both games in OT and came out with all four points, continuing their road success.

The Marlies are now 22-11-2-2, leading the North Division by six points over Hamilton with two games in hand. They sit third in the Western Conference, seven back of second-place Texas but with four games in hand on the Stars.

 

GAME SUMMARIES

Marlies (4) vs Wild (3)
Marlies Goal Scorers: Brennan, Abbott (2), Leivo
Marlies Assists: Brennan (3), Holzer, McKegg, Percy, Abbott, Leivo

Despite being fourth best in the AHL at scoring the first goal of the game, the Marlies started game 1 slowly. Four minutes into the first period, the Wild picked up a Marlies d-zone turn-over and sniped it home, making it 1-0 Wild.

Another late period rush against the Marlies, with Kevin Marshall getting caught behind the play, led to another Wild goal as the Marlies ended the first period down 2-0.

Early in the second period on a Marlies PP, great puck movement led to an Abbott goal, putting the Marlies back in this game. After killing off two 5 on 3s, the Marlies ended the period at 2-1.

About half-way through the third period, the Marlies went to the PP. A hard Brennan shot from the point sent a rebound right onto Abbott’s stick and he deposited the puck into the empty 4×6. The second Abbott goal, and second PP goal of the game, tied the game up at twos with eight minutes to go.

Shortly after the tying tally, some bad defensive zone coverage and a goal-mouth scramble allowed the Wild to regain the lead.

In what became a PP rout for the Marlies, Leivo picked up a Brennan pass in the high slot, walked in and ripped home another PP goal to tie the game again at 3-3. That’s how regulation would end.

In OT, a prolonged offensive zone cycle and some nifty passing found Brennan alone in the high-slot, and he walked in and released a cannon of a shot to secure the win for the Baby Buds.

Marlies (3) vs Wolves (2)
Marlies Goal Scorers: Abbott, Broll, Carrick
Marlies Assists: Brennan, Holzer, McKegg, Percy, Carrick, D’amigo

Game 2 against Chicago saw Garrett Sparks step into the net for a rare appearance, but a nice touch by Spott allowed Sparks to start in his hometown.

A busy first period featured some huge hits, a waived off goal and some penalties, but no goals until the final 18 seconds. At the tail-end of a Marlies PP, D’Amigo dished to a streaking Carrick on the right-wing before Broll exploded past two Chicago players into the slot and re-directed a Carrick pass into the net. The Marlies went to the dressing room after the first period up 1-0.

About half-way through the second period, after several unsuccessful Marlie PPs, the Marlies converted on the man-advantage. Almost identical to a PP goal in game 1, Toronto made a tic-tac-toe play through a seam and Abbott scored another PP goal. 2-0 Buds.

During more special teams play, after a failed dive on the penalty-kill by Marshall in trying to stop the centering pass, an open Chicago player in-front of the net banged it in to get Chicago back in the game. The second period would end 2-1.

Four minutes into the third period came more PK trouble for the Marlies. Chicago worked the puck to the point, fired it on net and it deflected in to tie the game at 2s. The Marlies would reverse their PK troubles later in the period by killing off a 5 on 3 penalty to survive and entered OT tied at 2-2.

In OT, Brennan took a boneheaded boarding call to put the Marlies down a man on a 4  on 3. A minute into the PK, the Wolves took a tripping call to turn it into a 3 on 3. Brennan jumped out the box to give the Marlies a brief PP, where the Marlies took advantage. Carrick and McKegg worked the puck down-low behind the net; McKegg made a few cut-backs while Carrick went to the slot. McKegg then found Carrick with a beauty pass to end the game. Marlies win 3-2.

 

NOTES:

  • Brennan is such a polarizing d-man. His offensive ability is undeniable. Both his slapper and wrister are extremely dangerous, and he’s got great offensive instincts. 16G, 22A and 38 Points in 37 GP speaks to that fact. Those assets make him downright dominant on the PP, but he needs a lot of work at 5 on 5 in his own zone. He’s been paired with Marshall a lot recently at evens and they’ve been dreadful. Over the two games this week, they were on the ice together for several goals against and several grade “A” chances against. They have both been plagued by bad turnovers, a proneness to getting lost in coverage, a tendency to take bad penalties, a failure to keep their heads on a swivel and a propensity to over-commit, exhibiting some bad positioning overall. The good news for Brennan is that these things can be improved through video work and coaching. He also isn’t shy to compete in the d-zone, where he’s not scared of confrontation. If he can just iron out the d-zone play he’s guaranteed a full-time NHL gig.  Still just 24 years of age.
  • Crescenzi doesn’t get mentioned often but he deserves more recognition. He’ll never be one to put up a lot of points but he plays his role as a checking centre effectively. He can skate well for such a big man, and his hits are nasty. He threw three massive hits over the two games, put in some key face-off work on the PK, and is the key forward on the 2nd PK unit. He blocks shots, forechecks, and does everything one would expect of a defensive centre. Somewhere down the line he could be a bigger, more physical version of McClement.
  • Abbott has become the Phil Kessel of the Marlies PP. He stands in the same spot on the left half-wall, and he comes into the slot and rips off the wrister the same way. He scored a couple goals in that spot over the week. He was the set-up man to start the season, but now it looks like he’s confident in his shot and is letting it go. That can only mean good things as it makes him a dual-threat, and he’s now up to nine goals on the season.
  • Speaking of skilled players, it was nice to see McKegg get back in the line-up. He made a beautiful one-touch pass to set up one of those Abbott PP goals, and put in some great work in OT in game 2 to set up the winner. He’s the Marlies number one centre and makes the team that much better.
  • Leivo was somewhat quiet but still put up two points in game 1. He’s a game-breaker offensively, and he just needs one chance to make his presence felt. He didn’t do too much during the game, but on the PP he show-cased his shot and ripped home a beauty in the high-slot. He’s got an NHL-calibre shot and release.
  • Sparks wasn’t tested a lot in Chicago, but when the Marlies needed a big save he was there to make it. It was especially impressive since he was must have been rusty having seen limited action this season. I can imagine it was nice for him to get the W in his hometown in front of family and friends.
  • Percy is taking advantage of increased PP time since the trade of John-Michael Liles. I noticed him make the same seam pass on a PP as McKegg made to Abbott. He always brings his patented smart, simple defensive game and now the offence is starting to come, with 11A in 33 GP.
  • The Marlies PP is blazing hot right now. Over the two games they scored six PP goals, and the PP moved from 10th in the league to 7th. Both special teams are now in the top 10.
  • This coming week will be hectic for the Marlies: Five games in seven days, with the first three of the week wrapping up the seven-game road trip. The Marlies play in Rockford this afternoon at 2 p.m. EST.
  • Leafs rule

    Mckegg ,abbott Broll etc deveping nicely/morning  eveyone of you, .Its fin cold out dress warm lol

  • Mind Bomb

    Good morning Folks !

  • B_Leaf

    Good mornin Leafers

    Nice to get an update on the Marlies. I really didn’t expect this team to be very competitive with so many young players…there must be some hidden quality in the roster…the AHL is a tough league to win in with a bunch of rookies.

  • Mind Bomb

    Leafs rule  Morning Jim, I liked seeing Percy with assists in both games, It is noted above that he is seeing more PP time with Liles gone, another great perk of that trade. I have HIgh hopes for Percy

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf Morning bro, after Graduating most of our first rounders in Kadri, Gardiner, Trading Blacker ( Holland) Ashton and to some extent D’amigo, I though the same thing No way we can still win

  • mcloki

    Morning Gents. Can hardly wait to see how the boys play in Phoenix.

  • Uncle Otis

    Thanks for the Marlies recap and good job Kurwa,…errr Daniel 😉

  • Mind Bomb

    mcloki  Morning MC

  • Mind Bomb

    Murph2417  Morning Murph

  • Mind Bomb

    Uncle Otis  And the Big O, looks like the A team of MLHS is logging on :))))))

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb B_Leaf  

    I was completely prepared for a year in the basement…I wonder how they are doing it.

    I really haven’t watched the Marlies much this year…but it seems like the team is full of young players who aren’t necessarily flashy, but that do have quality in their overall game. Almost the opposite of the Leafs. 

    Players like Granberg, Percy, McKegg, Carrick, and others seem to have an overall strong 200′ game that is helping.  It can only help the Leafs when some of these guys are ready.

  • B_Leaf

    Mind Bomb Uncle Otis 

    Another solid Barrie boy

  • Uncle Otis

    Mind BombUncle Otis
    If we’re the A team,I’d rather be Mr T…”I pity the fool who be dissing MLHS”
    Great weekend eh MB?

  • MaxwellHowe

    Surely at 24 years of age Brennan could at least try playing a forward position.  If i were Leafs mgt. I would strongly encourage that.  Fair sized guy, great shot, offensive instincts.  No defensive awareness.    Sounds like a Leafs winger to me.

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Leafs rule Good replacement for Franson eventually :)))

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf Mind Bomb Uncle Otis  I spent a Night Drunk in the Barrie Bucket, /shudder lol, I am careful around Barrie now lol

  • Mind Bomb

    Uncle Otis Mind Bomb  Hahha Was awesome I worked Saturday, but after that things changed for the better, Huge leaf win, 

    Is sad, but weither I have a good weekend, usually depends if the leafs win lol

     Plus two good games of Football last night

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy Mind Bomb Leafs rule Sure BB, although I think he is Gunnars eventually, I bet Franson puts it together and makes a Steady Bottom pair D man with offense

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Burtonboy Leafs rule That’s possible too .

  • Uncle Otis

    TheCanucksnaphook
    With a handle like that,it has to be 😉

  • wendelsway1

    Good Game Day Morning Gents…..and thanks for the write up, Daniel, very nice hearing how our youngsters are doing.  Big Leafs win tonight….let’s just keep on rollin’………GO LEAFS GO!!     GO MARLIES GO!!

  • Uncle Otis

    Mind BombB_LeafUncle Otis
    The Barrie Bucket…that’s what we called it too lol.
    Funny until you saw it from the inside…so I hear :)

  • Mind Bomb

    B_Leaf Mind Bomb  I have watched parts of 2 Marlies games this year lol. I wonder is Spot that good of a Coach

  • Mind Bomb

    wendelsway1  MOrning WW

  • mcloki

    Mind Bomb Uncle Otis They all come out of the woodwork after a Habs crushing.

  • Uncle Otis

    wendelsway1
    Great weekend to be a Leafer !
    And a Broncos fan :)

  • wendelsway1

    -Keon- Been that way since we changed over to livefyre

  • Cameron19

    wendelsway1 -Keon- Same….had to add a number when we changed.

  • Uncle Otis

    mcloki
    It makes the wives happy to keep the toilet seat(s) down

  • Cameron19

    -Keon- Well we can’t all be as clever as you -Keon-

  • MaxwellHowe

    Don’t want to see any of that emotional letdown BS.  Need a win tonite, because tomorrow night its the 3rd in 4 nights against the Avalanche, a game I really would like to avoid watching because of the possibility of a rout – but I’ll probnably watch it anyway and get upset.

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe 4-1 Leafs …don’t worry about it

  • Mind Bomb

    TheCanucksnaphook  Morning Phooker !

  • MaxwellHowe

    Thanks, I’m very relieved.  No need to worry about disappointment.  In fact, for the Avs game I’ll take out my fine crystalware collection and shine it during the game. I’m sure it’ll be safe.

  • wendelsway1

    Really hoping the teams directly behind us don’t pick up points this week as we’ve played more games than just about every team we’re in the mix with.   We need to start pulling away from the pack…….heads up, Habs….we’re coming for ya!!!

  • Cameron19

    wendelsway1 I think if we can manage 2-1-1 on this road trip, we’ll pull a little further ahead.

  • Mind Bomb

    Cameron19 wendelsway1  The good thing is I dont mind 3 point games this week, with no eastern opponents we can win 4 straight in a shoot out lol just bring on the wins

  • wendelsway1

    Really funny reading some of the Habs fan comments about JVR and his jersey tug…….most aren’t bright enough to realize he was mocking PK…lol

  • Burtonboy

    MaxwellHowe Why worry …just causes more grey hairs and high blood pressure :)

  • wendelsway1

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe No use worrying about things you have no control over  :)

  • dlb eh

    Dan the Man, thanks for the Marlies updates.  good stuff.

  • wendelsway1

    Torts has his hearing today….wonder what he’s going to get?

  • Mind Bomb

    wendelsway1 50000 Dollar Fine

  • Airfreshener

    Morning all, laid off on friday! Sucks but I’m young and this is a great opportunity for me to reflect and try something new. Don’t worry ill still be here 😉

  • Jon5200

    Great to have no hab fans here at work this morning walking around beating their chests….come to think of it….cant seem to find/see one anywhere?  Typical!!  I would LUV to be 2pts behind those habs after tonite……………..hoping for no letdown……if its going to be a loss, at least get a point!!

  • Burtonboy

    wendelsway1 100 g fine and 8 game suspension

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy MaxwellHowe what’s wrong with grey hair? :)

  • Burtonboy

    rustynail Burtonboy MaxwellHowe That’s what all the guys who have it say

  • Airfreshener

    Murph2417 Airfreshener Exactly what im doing haha. Just touchin up the old resume first. Gotta reinstall microsoft office which is a pain, or I could get open office i suppose.

  • Burtonboy

    Airfreshener Never any fun that . Good Luck