Surviving a three-in-three is hard, especially when the travel day is in the middle. For the Toronto Marlies, this was the scenario they had to power through this weekend; a game at Ricoh on Friday, a game in Rochester yesterday, and a final one on home ice today. Thankfully for them, the Adirondack flames were on their last day as well, having just played games in Utica and Hamilton. Both sides were using up the last of the gas in their tanks, but it was the Marlies who hit the throttle a little harder, winning 2-0.
After some good pressure to open the game, the Marlies found themselves hemmed in their own end for a large chunk of the first period. Starting with a penalty to Brandon Kozun, Toronto found themselves struggling to regain the offensive zone, but eventually figured things out. With thirty seconds to go in the period, Connor Brown set up Byron Froese with a nifty pass, culminating in the latter’s fourth goal of the season.
The game’s pace slowed to a snails crawl after the period concluded. Only nine shots were taken over the course of the following twenty, though tempers flared late in the second. Following a scramble in front of the net, members of both sides got involved in pushing and shoving, culminating in Sam Carrick and Mathieu Tousignant dropping the gloves.
The third period didn’t bring much more excitement, though the teams both managed got get some powerplay time in. Eventually, Adirondack pulled their goalie, Sam Carrick took a shot from long distance, and while it hit the post, Brandon Kozun pucked up the rebound and sealed the deal.
With Jonathan Bernier battling
totally not the the mumps the flu, Christopher Gibson found his way onto the Leafs roster. This put the pressure on Garret Sparks, who was called back to the Marlies the day before so Antoine Bibeau could rest an upper-body injury.
Needless to say, he was more than equal to the task, posting his first career shutout in a 23 save performance. It seemed like it wasn’t very difficult after the first few minutes of the opening period, but any slight mistake turns this into an overtime game, which didn’t happen. Sparks even picked up an assist on the empty netter, which was the icing on the cake for him.
- Not a lot of shots taken by the team, but Byron Froese had the most of them, with three – one of which was the game winner. He’s been a very pleasant surprise since coming up.
- Blake Kessel picked up his first point as a Marlie, assisting on the Froese goal.
- Sam Carrick has ten points in as many games – it seems like he’s starting to get back into the form that seemed to have disappeared early in the season.
- I think Gord Dineen is starting to get a feel for his roster, as evidenced by the lack of changes today. It’s gutsy to not rotate some guys out at the end of a 3-in-3, but other than the goaltending, the lineup stayed the same.
- No goals on four powerplays today, but both penalties against were killed. A solid amount of disciplined shown by the team, with a 45 minute gap between those two man-disadvantages.
- Toronto gets a couple of days off now, facing Adirondack in their hometown on Wednesday.