Hockey games are at least sixty minutes long, but one could argue that they can be won or lost in much less time than that. Today was a very good example of this. While the San Antonio Rampage came into Ricoh Coliseum having a 7-1-1-1 record in their past ten games, one could argue that the Toronto Marlies had the game in the bag from the second shift on, despite the close 2-1 final score.
Just ten seconds into the game, the Marlies pounced. While Jerred Smithson lost the faceoff, his line went straight to the forecheck and worked to recover the puck, which they did. Once put towards the net, Tyler Biggs rammed it past Michael Houser and earned his sixth of the season. A few minutes later, he followed that up with a penalty, but it was killed and ultimately not a major detriment to the team.
Midway through the period, Spencer Abbott threw a breakout pass over to Jerry D’Amigo, similar to the one that caused a goal from this weekend. D’Amigo scored on the play (which meant Houser was switched for Jacob Markstrom), after being slashed by Alex Petrovic, crashed hard into the boards.
Petrovic was given five and a game for his slash, the first time I’ve seen such a severe call for that kind of infraction. Amazingly, D’Amigo came back before the powerplay even ended and contributed another scoring chance. The man advantage was spoiled by a penalty to Brandon Kozun, which was eventually killed and the last major event of the period.
To start the second period, the Rampage fired a pair of shots on net, turning a 7-2 Toronto advantage into a 12-12 draw. While a concerning shift of momentum with 39 minutes left to play in the game, the period was entirely in Toronto’s control from that point on. Not a single shot went in the direction of Drew MacIntyre until the third period, while Toronto took the next 14 in a row.
In the third period, the Marlies had their own brush with the law as Kory Nagy ran a San Antonio player into the boards. Fortunately for Toronto, Nagy walked away with a minor penalty and they were able to kill it off. However, shortly after getting out of the box, Nagy had a scoring chance broken up by Colby Robak, which eventually made its way to Bobby Butler to break MacIntyre’s shutout. That was the last goal of the game, however, and the Marlies ended the night victorious.
- Drew MacIntyre made 22 saves on 23 shots, an impressive performance. It wasn’t exactly a quiet night for him either; 23 shots against isn’t reflective of zone time. Lots of shots were blocked or missed the net, so he had to be prepared for just about anything. I guess what I’m saying, is that this is a night where the AHL having people enough statistics to track Corsi would be awesome.
- That line of Mike Duco, Jarred Smithson, and Tyler Biggs is something that almost everyone would scoff at as a bad idea, but you know what? They’ve been fantastic the last couple of games. They’ve brought energy and have been getting pucks into the offensive zone. I don’t know how long it will last, nor does Steve Spott, but he says that he’ll be giving it a try for a little while yet. Why wouldn’t you? These three are all playing above the individual expectations for themselves and helping their team win.
- Massive guts from Jerry D’Amigo to come back right away. Maybe it was adrenaline making him feel like it was a good idea, but whatever it was, you could tell that it was painful. The massive ice bag he had on his hand during media scrums made that evident.
- Peter Holland will draw into the Marlies lineup tomorrow, as he’s been sent down to make room for David Bolland. Spott says the first line centre role is his for the taking; no surprise given his talent level and the lack of natural centres in the Marlies lineup.
- Tomorrow’s game is against the Oklahoma City Barons, and is a 4PM start. Hopefully, we get a crowd that’s still doing cartwheels from a Team Canada Gold Medal victory. Even if it makes Petter Granberg a bit sad.