Two stories here, but I figure we can cram them both together since they’re both Marlies related. and tonight’s game wasn’t super exciting. The above picture is pretty meaningless, other than the fact that for the first half of the game, the Marlies were represented by a Syracuse Crunch logo, and I found that pretty funny. Okay. Press the read article button and let’s get this show on the road.
Marlies vs. Amerks
Speaking of the road, the Toronto Marlies played what seems to be an increasingly rare road game against the Rochester Americans today, which is surely just about the end of their season se-THERE ARE FIVE MORE GAMES? HOW?
Anwyay. The Marlies came out flying, opening the scoring just thirty seven seconds in. A smart board chip by Trevor Smith sent Spencer Abbott rushing down the right wing, which he turned into a goal with a wrist shot that bounced off of Nathan Lieuwen and into the net. A few seconds after David Broll dropped the gloves with Nick Petricki, Sam Carrick found himself in the penalty box for a trip. This proved costly for the Marlies, as Rasmus Ristolainen fired off a one timer into the top right corner to beat Christopher Gibson.
From that point on, the game was pretty pedestrian. The Marlies controlled most of the offence, taking over double the shots from the second period on, and both teams had plenty of powerplay opportunities. A stellar performance from Lieuwen was the x-factor in bringing the game into overtime, but with Luke Adam in the penalty box, Abbott managed to put in his second of the night, his sixteenth of the season, and the game winning goal.
- Abbott is on fire right now, with six points in his last four games. His two goals tonight give him 63 points on the year, good for third in AHL scoring.
- TJ Brennan’s assist on the second goal gave him his 60th point of the season. He’s the first Marlies defenceman to ever do that, and did so in just 59 games played.
- Trevor Smith had assists on both goals and lead the team with seven shots on goal.
- Wade MacLeod and Sam Carrick returned to the lineup tonight. Carrick had no real effect on the game minus his penalty, but MacLeod had five shots.
- Christopher Gibson stopped 23 of 24 shots tonight, another solid performance on his part.
Drew MacIntyre Call-Up Imminent
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a plan in place to call up Marlies starting goaltender Drew MacIntyre tomorrow in the event that Jonathan Bernier’s leg (or maybe James Reimer’s head, I’m assuming Bernier though) isn’t ready to go Sunday.
As you read above, the Marlies played tonight, and after several days off, you would have expected MacIntyre to get the start. Christopher Gibson was in net instead. The idea behind this would likely be injury precaution, because they obviously wouldn’t want to be stuck calling up one of the prospects instead (as solid as both have been this year, MacIntyre is a cut above).
As well, the Orlando Solar Bears played and Garret Sparks wasn’t in the lineup. He’s not injured, so I imagine he’s been called up to the Marlies and will, if I had to guess, probably be heading back up to Toronto as soon as possible. There are no call up rules or waivers or anything like that between the AHL and ECHL, so at the very worst case, he shows up at Pearson, gets handed another ticket, rolls his eyes, and flies back to Orlando if nothing happens.
There are two ways that this call up would work. The first one involves IR, which guarantees the loss of Bernier for a week or more. MacIntyre would then be considered an emergency recall. Or, he just sits the game out, and MacIntyre has to go through waivers to head back down. Both scenarios would make him the third of four post deadline call ups.
I feel confident that MacIntyre will be able to stop at least a decent amount of pucks for the Leafs. He’s quite possibly been the best goaltender in the AHL since the Marlies signed him to replace Ben Scrivens after the lockout, going 13-5-3 last year with a 0.931 SV%, and going 25-15-3 with a 0.919 SV% this year. With the exception of 2011/12, he’s been a safe bet for a 0.920 SV% in the ECHL and AHL for the past eight seasons, and goaltending is one of the best-transitioning positions across the pro leagues.
Steve Spott has the same confidence in him. “I think that he can go in, if he needs to get into the net. He’s a good number three right now for the organization. Extremely confident, quick, and has experience in the NHL. I think he’s a goaltender that if needed to be counted upon, he’ll be there.”
MacIntyre is still chasing his first career NHL start, but came in for two games for the Leafs this preseason, stopping 12 of 13 against Philadelphia, and stopping every shot that came at him in a half-against Ottawa. He also has four appearances in regular season games for Buffalo and Vancouver in prior years.
UPDATE: The Orlando Solar Bears made Sparks’ call up official, and as I expected, he’s flying up this morning. MacIntyre is already in Washington, so we’re just waiting for the proper wording to come out from the two Toronto teams.