In case you haven’t heard, the Toronto Marlies beat the Rochester Americans last night 4-3 to take a 1-0 lead in their first round best of five playoff series.
The game story and video highlights can be found here on the Marlies website. The readers digest version goes like this: the Marlies took the play to Rochester in the first, yet it was Rochester who finished the first period with a 1-0 lead. The Americans’ goalie, David Leggio, was peppered with shots throughout the game and the Marlies D’Amigo finally broke through in the second period as the two teams went into the third period tied at one. The Marlies then scored two goals to take what looked like a commanding lead, only for Rochester to storm back and tie the game. D’Amigo scored once again with under five minutes to take a final 4-3 lead as the Marlies held on for the win.
I linked the game story because I don’t plan on writing them. Below I have some game notes, interesting tidbits and takeaways from conversations I was lucky to have with the players. I want to supplement the standard game stories that can be found on numerous websites rather than duplicate them. So here it goes:
“The Toronto Marlies have clinched the Sam Pollock Trophy, which is handed out annually to the North Divisionâ€™s top team during the regular season. Last night, they became the fourth team in the AHL to clinch their division. The Marlies also won the Sam Pollock Trophy in 2007-08, making it to the Western Conference Finals that year before losing to the eventual Calder Cup champion, Chicago Wolves.
The Marlies currently sit second in the AHLâ€™s Western Conference with 89 points and own a 41-23-4-3 record. Over their past 10 games the Marlies have posted a record of 8-2-0-0 and are on a three-game winning streak. They trail only the Oklahoma City Barons, AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, by six points for first place overall in the Conference.
The Marlies success this season has not been limited to the action on the ice. The home attendance at Ricoh Coliseum is averaging more than 5,400 fans per game, which is up 22-percent from last season. Toronto owns a record of 22-10-3-1 on home ice this season. Their 22 home victories rank first in the Western Conference and is tied for second in the league.
We’re going to try to post regular Marlies updates as they embark on their Calder Cup bid. Here’s this week’s release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies collected a pair of victories over their three games last week. On Wednesday morning the Marlies skated to a 2-1 shootout victory against the Lake Erie Monsters. Greg Scott opened the scoring early in the first. Ben Scrivens made 18 saves, and stopped all four Lake Erie shootout attempts, earning first star honors. Ryan Hamilton and Joe Colborne both scored for the Marlies in the shootout.
On Saturday, the Marlies blanked the Monsters 1-0 in a shootout at Quicken Loans Arena. It was their second straight shootout win against the Monsters. Joe Colborne and Josh Engel both scored in the shootout. Ben Scrivens stopped all 36 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and was named the gameâ€™s second star.
Toronto dropped a 4-2 decision to the Texas Stars on Sunday at Ricoh Coliseum. Marcel Mueller and Greg Scott netted the two Marlies goals in the contest.
The Marlies are set to drop the puck against Rochester, Toronto’s closest competition in the North Division (four points back of the Marlies), at the Ricoh (11 a.m. start). A good time for your weekly update from the Marlies:
“The Marlies dropped the Syracuse Crunch 5-2 on Friday night at the Oncenter. Simon Gysbersâ€™ goal early in the second period held up to be the game-winner. Philippe Dupuis notched three points, including his first goal of the season. Mike Zigomanis had a goal and a helper. Ryan Hamilton also had two assists, while Ben Scrivens made 37 saves on 39 shots. Marcel Mueller and Will Acton were the other two Marlie goal scorers.
The Marlies are in Syracuse tonight for a Friday night matchup against the Crunch (7:30 p.m. puck drop) before returning home for a ten-game home stretch. Your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies went 1-2-0-0 in their three games last week. Toronto opened the week on Thursday night with a 6-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters. The Marlies scored five times in the first period, with Joe Colborneâ€™s goal holding up to be the game-winner. Matt Frattin scored twice in the game and was the gameâ€™s first star. Korbinian Holzer and Jesse Blacker both recorded +4 ratings in the win. Jerry Dâ€™Amigo and Mike Zigomanis both scored shorthanded tallies.
The following night in Hamilton, the Marlies dropped a 4-1 decision to the Bulldogs at Copps Coliseum. Matt Frattin was the lone Marlie goal scorer. Mark Owuya got the start, making 24 saves in a losing effort.
image courtesy of The Marlies. Click to enlarge. (Photo: Credit: Graig Abel)
“The Marlies scored seven times to drop the Hamilton Bulldogs 7-2 at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After the Bulldogs went ahead 1-0 just 27 seconds into the game, the Marlies responded with three first period goals. Marcel Mueller pushed the Marlies lead to 4-1 mid-way through the second period. Hamilton made it a two-goal game going into the second intermission.
courtesy of The Marlies. If blurry, click to enlarge.
Your weekly AHL update courtesy of the Toronto Marlies:
“The Marlies went 2-2-0-0 over their past four games on the road. Toronto played a two game series against the St. Johns IceCaps to begin the week. Toronto won the first game on Tuesday night, 4-2 behind Ryan Hamiltonâ€™s two-point evening. The Marlies scored three first period goals to help propel them past the IceCaps. Jussi Rynnas made 20 saves on 21 shots for the win. Mike Zigomanis chipped in with a goal and a helper.
The Marlies have been slowing down as of late but still own top spot in the North Division. Your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies dropped a 6-3 contest to the Hamilton Bulldogs in front of 13,238 fans at Air Canada Centre on Monday. Toronto scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game, but then the Bulldogs responded with six unanswered goals. Jerry Dâ€™Amigo, Joe Colborne and Ryan Hamilton scored the goals for the Marlies. Mike Zigomanis led all Marlie skaters with two points, both assists. Olivier Fortier scored twice for Hamilton and Robert Mayer made all 29 shots he faced in a relief effort.
Toronto defeated the Rockford IceHogs last Wednesday night. After a scoreless first two periods, Dâ€™Amigo netted his seventh goal of the season to put the Marlies on the board first. Marcel Muellerâ€™s goal late in the period held up to be the game-winner in a 4-1 Marlies win. Ben Scrivens made 30 saves and was the gameâ€™s second star.
The Marlies keep on rolling. Nazem Kadri, Marcel Mueller and Mike Zigomanis are tied for the team points scoring leadÂ at 22, while Joe Colborne has two assists in two games since returning to the AHL and sits at 21 in 15 games played. Your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies won both their games last week and extended their lead in the North Division standings. On Friday night the Marlies defeated the Bulldogs in Hamilton, 2-1. Jerry Dâ€™Amigoâ€™s second period goal held up to be the game-winner. Greg Scott scored the other Marlies goal, which came on the power play. Ben Scrivens made 26 saves for his fifth win of the season.
The Marlies continue to churn out wins. They’ve collected 13 of their last 14 points as Nazem Kadri, Marcel Mueller, Mike Zigomanis, and Mark Owuya have led the way. An excess of depth has forced Owuya back to Reading in an unfortunate demotion after the Swedish summer signing posted a 4-1-1 record with a 1.73 GAA and a .939 save%, statistically making him the second best goalie in the AHL prior to his return to the ECHL. With Reimer’s return bumping the rest down the goalie chain, Owuya finds himself back with Reading as Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas take over the Marlie duties for now. Owuya has definitely made a statement and left Leafs management with something to think about, but the wise asset management at this point was to return him to Reading as originally planned and give Scrivens and Rynnas the AHL starts.
In other news, the Marlies will receive a boost in the form of Joe Colborne, as the AHL’s player of the month in October was returned to the Marlies today Â to make room for the now-healthy Colby Armstrong. Onto your weekly release from the Marlies:
With the Leafs only playing two games this week, I headed out to the Ricoh Coliseum and took in a Marlies game. I don’t know how consistently I’ll be going to the games and talking about the Marlies, but it worked out last night and I thought it was worthwhile. Plus, their obviously an important part of the entire organization and are always worth discussing.
If you live in Toronto, I highly recommend you go watch a Marlies game (or two, or three…). It’s a cozy rink that just feels like a hockey arena, whereas the ACC seems more of like a giant building where events happen. Beyond the Ricoh being a great place to take in a hockey game, the atmosphere is fun. There’s a lot of energetic fans, it’s surprisingly loud and everyone gets into the game.
Over the weekend, the Marlies swept a back-to-back against the first-placed Eastern Conference team, the St. John’s IceCaps. They now sit first in the North Division with Â 27 points and a 12-5-2-1 record. With Joe Colborne and Joey Crabb making positive contributions with the big club, the likes of Nazem Kadri, Marcel Mueller and Mike Zigomanis have stepped up and filled the offensive void. Meanwhile, Mark Owuya and Jussi Rynnas continue to perform well between the pipes in Ben Scrivens’ absence. The Maple Leafs lead the Northeast, the Marlies lead their division, and the quality organizational depth Brian Burke and his management team have assembled is shining through as we approach December. It’s a good time to be a Toronto hockey fan. Your weekly Marlies release:
“The Marlies went 2-0-0-0 in their two games last weekend. Jeff Finger scored the overtime winner with 29 seconds remaining in regulation time on Friday night to lift the Marlies past the IceCaps, 4-3. Nazem Kadri factored in on each of the Marlies goals, registering four points (two goals, two assists); while Mark Owuya won his third straight game, making 29 saves. The Marlies power play clicked twice, with Mike Zigomanis recording assists on both of the man-advantage tallies.
Mark Owuya is 3-1-1 with a 1.51GAA and .941 SV% (Photo: Steve Christie/kylethereporter.com)
The Marlies have been faring just fine as of late without top scorers Joe Colborne and Joey Crabb. Your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies went 3-0-0-0 in their three games last week. They opened their week with a 2-1 victory over the Americans in Rochester on Friday night. Jerry Dâ€™Amigo scored the gamewinning goal with 2:28 remaining in regulation time while shorthanded. Greg Scott finished the game with a goal and a helper; while Mark Owuya made 26 saves for first star honours.
On Saturday, the Marlies beat the Amerks for the second straight day, 3-2.
Simon Gysbers lead the way with three points (one goal, two assists). Mike Zigomanis netted the game-winning goal late in the second period. Owuya made 32 saves for his second straight victory.
Expect a callup or two from the Marlies shortly as the list of casualties has grown to six with Matthew Lombardi and Mike Komisarek out three weeks apiece (upper body injuries). A timeline on Colby Armstrong’s return remains unknown, while Mikhail Grabovski is out at least two weeks with his lower body ailment. The news is a bit better on Clarke MacArthur as he could return as early as Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. James Reimer returned to the ice today for a 15-minute skate, which is somewhat encouraging, but Brian Burke has warned not to get too excited as Reimer “could be out another month.” Yikes.
Your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies went 1-1-0-1Â in their three games lastÂ week. They opened theirÂ week with a 3-1 loss againstÂ the Oklahoma City Barons onÂ Tuesday morning. SimonÂ Gysbers scored the lone goalÂ for Toronto, which came onÂ the power play. Mark OwuyaÂ made 22 saves on 24 shots inÂ the loss.Â Â On Saturday night in GlensÂ Falls, the Marlies fell 2-1 in aÂ shootout against theÂ Adirondack Phantoms.
Toronto is in Texas tonight as Matt Frattin makes his Marlies debut in Joey Crabb’s place on the top line alongside Joe Colborne and Jerry D’Amigo. Here’s your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies went 1-2-0-0 in their three games last week. Toronto shutout the Abbotsford Heat, 5-0 on Wednesday night at Ricoh Coliseum. Joe Colborne scored two goals and added an assist; while Joey Crabb also recorded a three-point night with a goal and two assists. Ben Scrivens made 23 saves for his first shutout of the season. Greg Scottâ€™s first goal of the season in the first period held up to be the game winner.
On Friday night in Cleveland, the Marlies lost a 2-1 decision to the Lake Erie Monsters. Colborne scored the gameâ€™s opening goal, but the Monsters replied with two unanswered tallies. Jussi Rynnas made 31 saves on 33 shots in the loss.
Joey Crabb and Joe Colborne continue to lead the way. Your weekly release from the Marlies:
“The Marlies took three out of a possible four points over the weekend. They opened their weekend with a 5-4 overtime win over the Rochester Americans. The Marlies fought back from being down 4-2 with under two minutes to play to tie the game, and then Joe Colborne scored in overtime to cap the comeback. Colborne finished the night with three points. Ryan Hamilton, Joey Crabb and Mike Zigomanis all chipped in with two point contests in the win.
On Sunday, the Marlies fought back to earn a single point in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Lake Erie Monsters. After trailing 3-1 going into the final period, the Marlies scored three third period goals to force overtime. Crabb tallied two late goals to help push the game into extra time, but Tyson Barrie ended the game in overtime while the Monsters were on a power play. Zigomanis and Colborne both tallied two point games in the loss.
Marlies This Week is back at MLHS for the 2011-12 season. The baby Buds are off to a 3-1 start, highlighted by three-goal, seven-point weeks for Joe Colborne and Joey Crabb. Your weekly release from Marlies:
“The Marlies won two of their three games last weekend, including their home opener on Saturday in front of 6,084 fans. On Friday night, the Marlies dropped a 3-2 decision against the Griffins in Grand Rapids. Matt Lashoff and Joe Colborne each scored for the Marlies in the loss.
On Saturday, the Marlies defeated the Lake Erie Monsters, 5-3 behind Joey Crabb and Colborneâ€™s three point nights. Ben Scrivens made 26 saves; while Luca Caputiâ€™s first goal of the season held up to be the game winner. Marcel Mueller also tallied a two point game with a goal and an assist.
Toronto downed the Monsters for the second straight time on Sunday, winning 4-0. Jussi Rynnas earned the shutout making 21 saves and Jerry Dâ€™Amigo and Crabb both had three point games. Mike Zigomanis chipped in with two assists in the victory.
According to the Toronto Marlies Twitter feed, Brayden Irwin (signed out of the NCAA toward the end of the 2009-10 season by the Leafs, but a free agent during the 2011 offseason) has signed with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate:
Toronto Marlies announce today that the club has signed forward Brayden Irwin to an American Hockey League contract.
Further details are not available at this time, but suffice it to say this appears to be a depth signing by the organization. With several young forwards expected to receive callups at various points throughout the year, the Marlies will need players to turn to in order to fill out their roster — and Irwin is a player with whom they are already quite familiar.