TORONTO - Whether it’s positive or negative, the Maple Leafs are consistently the talk of Toronto. The Toronto Marlies, often left behind in all the commotion, are now the centre of attention with the Maple Leafs out of the playoffs. On Saturday night, the Toronto Marlies gave their fans something to smile about. A tough matchup on paper against the Milwaukee Admirals was made to be just a fairytale by Toronto on Friday in game #1. The Marlies defeated the Admirals 6-2 on Friday and were looking to take a 2-0 series lead on Saturday night.
The first period was a rough one for Toronto. While the goalies were both standing on their heads, the Marlies were outshot 15-7 in the period which is something that’s not like them. But, as we’ve all seen with the Maple Leafs, sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. With less than five minutes to play in the first period, Toronto had lady luck on their side. Trevor Smith broke across the blue line and found an open Brandon Kozun on his left wing just above the face-off circle who wristed a shot through a screen past Marek Mazanec for his 1st of the playoffs, giving Toronto the late 1-0 lead. Kozun, who was acquired by Toronto early in the season for Andrew Crescenzi, has been a fantastic addition to an already strong Marlies squad. The speedy winger had a great chance in game #1 but somehow the puck found a way to go wide of the net. For Kozun, the goal was special. Not only was it his first playoff goal as a Marlie, but it was also his first goal in 15 games. 1-0 Toronto after one.
In the second, Toronto would strike once more. After Milwaukee took three consecutive penalties, Toronto would get a long powerplay opportunity and made sure to use it to their advantage. Just past the 8 minute mark, on the 5 on 3, Sam Carrick finished a tic-tac-toe play banging home his 3rd of the post-season past an outstretched Mazenec 2-0 Toronto. Unlike the first period, Toronto was all over Milwaukee in the second. Toronto took control of the shots in the period, 13-7 but were unable to find the back of the net before the period would expire. 2-0 Marlies after two.
In the third period, it was Milwaukee’s turn to find the net. Just 53 seconds into the period, with Toronto pinned in their own end, Calle Jarnkrok one-timed a Fillip Forsberg pass by Drew MacIntyre for his 1st of the post-season, bringing the Admirals to within one. Midway through the period, Brandon Kozun received a slashing call for trying to poke a loose puck out from between the legs of Mazanec. Three minutes later, with Toronto on the powerplay, with the puck in between the legs of Mazanec once again, Kozun once again poked at the puck and this time was rewarded with his second goal of the night, 3-1 Toronto. The Admirals would run into penalty trouble in the third, and it cost them. With less than five minutes to play, and Toronto on yet another powerplay, Korbinian Holzer snapped a shot from the point which eluded Mazanec, 4-1 Toronto. With less than two minutes to play however, Milwaukee would shrink the gap once more. Brian Rodney pinching in from the point, beat MacIntyre on a rebound making it 4-2. But with time winding down, Jerry “Fear Da Beard” D’Amigo, fired his 2nd of the post season into the empty cage. 5-2 Toronto your final.
- Brandon Kozun scored twice and totalled three points on the night. For some reason he wasn’t 1 of the three stars, but nevertheless, he had a great game. His speed is going to be a huge asset for Toronto as the playoffs roll along.
- Drew MacIntyre was solid once again. He stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.
- Toronto was 3/9 on the powerplay and 7/7 on the penalty kill. Steve Spott was quick to credit his assistant coaches for the success of both the PP and the PK. “Gord Dinnen and Derek King, give them a lot of credit” Said Spott. “They take the lead in those areas and they work diligently with our guys on and off the ice.”
- T.J. Brennan had 6 shots on goal, most from either team
- Steve Spott confirmed Saturday that Andrew MacWilliam has been cleared to play. Dylan Yeo will most likely come out of the lineup for MacWilliam on Thursday.
- Spott was pretty vague on the status of forwards Peter Holland, Spencer Abbott and Carter Ashton. Spott did hint however, that the trio could possibly be cleared for game action by Thursday.
- Game #3 is Thursday May 1st at 7PM. You can catch the action on RogersTV within the city of Toronto. If you’re outside of Toronto, like myself, I’m not too sure where you can catch the game. It is possible that LeafsTV could do a simulcast, but to my knowledge at the moment, RogersTV is the place to catch the action or at the Ricoh of course.
Here’s a link to the game in six highlights.
Photo courtesy of Christian at TSGphoto.com