There’s something I really like about Drew MacIntyre. Besides the fact he appears to be genuinely nice and friendly to everyone who comes into contact with him, and the whole being really good at stopping pucks thing, he’s not afraid to give you an honest answer. It may not be the one that fits the story you’re working on, but I’d rather hear somebody’s actual thought than a cliche that fits my agenda.
With that said, who else is better to give his feelings on the series so far?
“Literally every game we played, all five games, we could have easily lost.” said the starting goaltender “They’re close games, and we scored goals late, which is awesome. The scores make it look like its easy, but none of the games have been a ‘take the foot off the pedal’ game. We have to go right to the end in every single game.”
There’s some definite truth to this. If you remove the six empty net goals that the Marlies scored so far these playoffs, everything begins to feel a little too close for comfort. It’s something he recognizes, particularly in the game on Saturday. “They took it to us. When we took the lead last game, they showed what kind of skill they have, and all the little things we’ve talked about. We sat back, and let them take it to us. We respect them a lot, and respect their skill, but we need to be better in some aspects.”
Something I will give this team though, is that they’re definitely in this series more than they were against the Grand Rapids Griffins last season. As MacIntyre points out, it was a learning experience to build from. “I believe they (previous occasions) happen for a reason, you have to learn from them. I definitely learned a lot from last year’s playoff run. It started off really well, and we weren’t ready to go for the second round. We addressed that this round, and I think that helped us for Game 1. We got blown out of the building last year in Game 1.”
He doesn’t like to think about that series too much, however. “I was pretty disappointed.. I thought I could have played better in the second series. Not just last year, but every year, you take aspects of it and you realize that it doesn’t matter how it’s going. If you lose this game, or this round, than you’re going to be ticked off and disappointed at yourself.”
MacIntyre is one of many Marlies players to put up stellar numbers to start the playoffs, currently holding a 0.947 save percentage and a shutout. But how is he getting better as the season progresses? He credits his training ethic, something many players on the team have said similarly of late. “It’s part of being a pro. Taking care of your body, and prepping on a weekly basis. Not just showing up and working, you have to plan how you’re going to work. We have awesome coaches. Fitzy (Strength & Conditioning Coach Mark Fitzgerald) does a great job with that, and I have (Goaltending Coach Piero) Greco, so we manage alright”.
As for whether he’s excited about his hot streak? Well, he’d prefer for it to not be just a streak, and sees no reason to be complacent. “I take pride in being consistent. I don’t like to get in the zone, I want to be consistently reliable. I feel like I’m doing alright, but I can always do better.”
Peter Holland, on the other hand, was more than happy to pump his tires. “He’s been awesome. We know if we make a mistake.. we try to play in layers, but if our players get beat, we know he’s going to be there to bail us out. He’s been great so far.”
The Marlies are expected to run the following forward lines in tomorrow’s Game Three:
Spencer Abbott – Peter Holland – Carter Ashton
Josh Leivo – Greg McKegg – Sam Carrick
Brandon Kozun – Trevor Smith – Jerry D’Amigo
David Broll – Jerred Smithson – Kenny Ryan
The defence is a bit of a question mark, as Petter Granberg missed main practice. I admittedly dropped the ball and didn’t check to see if he was practicing with the scratches, or ask Spott about whether he was banged up or not, so I guess we’ll find out for sure tomorrow.
Puck drop is at 7PM at Ricoh Coliseum.