Unique teams! Non-divisional and non-occasional! I love them! Wait, we’re seeing these new guys again just three days later, and they’re gone from the building afterwards until who knows what season? How about that.. whatever the case, the Toronto Marlies are back home for their third game in four nights, re-facing the Charlotte Checkers. On Saturday, the Marlies beat the Hurricanes affiliate 4-1, lead by Greg McKegg’s two goal, two assist performance. Tonight, the Marlies doubled up, defeating the Checkers for the second time in the homestead.
The first period started relatively calm, with both teams trading chances and powerplays, but it was the Checkers who opened the scoring, with Rasmus Rissanen firing a point wrister past Drew MacIntyre for his first goal of the season. Just three minutes later though, Brad Ross picked up the rebound on a Petter Granberg point shot to tie the game.
On a Marlies powerplay, Greg McKegg thought he started off the second period on the right foot, as he snuck a puck past John Muse. However, the referees ruled goaltender interference and waved off the goal. Before the pwerplay could end, Josh Leivo re-gave his team that 2-1 lead they thought they had, scoring his fifth of the season. The period ended with a couple fights and chippy penalties, and a commanding 10-4 shot gap in favour of Toronto.
The game wasn’t going to end so easily. Checkers captain Brett Sutter, who was down and appeared to be injured late in the second, tied the game just two minutes in. But yet again, the Marlies went ahead, with Troy Bodie tipping a John-Michael Liles point shot for what would be the game winning goal.
- Drew MacIntyre started again for the Marlies and looked in usual form, making several key saves. The save percentage doesn’t really agree (stopping just 15 of 17), but it was a good "by eyes" performance.
- Kenny Ryan slotted back into the lineup today, and played centre. That’s something he’s never really done at this level, but minus some struggles at the faceoff dot, he seemed okay with it.
- Brad Staubitz dropped the gloves for the first time as a member of the team, fighting Nicolas Blanchard midway through the second period. I’d call it a draw.
- Speaking of fights, Sam Carrick danced with Keegan Lowe in one of the least expected scraps of the year. The crazy part? They threw bombs! Carrick had the edge, which was rather surprising.
- Rick DiPietro didn’t start in this game either, which disappoints me. I’d really like to see him make a road to career recovery, and so far, things don’t look very good for him. Personally, I’m interested to see how the rest of the season plays out..
- This was a night of big hits, with Petter Granberg and Andrew MacWilliam throwing the body frequently and with strength. Granberg’s best hit was a bit dirty though, sending him to the box for boarding.
- John Michael Liles started off slow but looked in usual form by the end of the game. Carolina is a potential suitor to bring him back into the NHL, and several upper brass were here. It has to be assumed that they were taking a look, so this is a good thing for him.
- Not a very well attended game, but with the Leafs playing at the ACC at the same time, and a huge international soccer game being played at the Rogers Centre, it’s impressive that the 4400 that showed up were even here.
Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com