Admittedly, my knowledge of Star Wars comes from playing the pod racer arcade game once or twice, but based off of what I have seen on the internet, everybody loved the first three movies, but when they made everybody younger and went into prequel mode, it was disappointing by comparison.
Well, the Toronto Marlies have made the playoffs three years in a row, and this team is younger than its ever been. Does year in disappointment? The team would hope not, but they need wins to avoid it. Tonight, they faced the Lake Erie Monsters, who I will compare to Darth Vader solely because they wear black on the road. Not only that, but they won the game, too, in an overtime thriller.
Contrary to what you see in the header picture, these teams didn’t play with lightsabres (though Reebok should have provided solid coloured sticks for the occasion, in my opinion). They played with early intensity, however, and in this case, it worked out for the Marlies. After failing to covert on several early scoring chances, a backhand pass by Petter Granberg found Greg McKegg, who tapped it home to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead. This caused an uptick in pressure from the Monsters, but nothing that Toronto wasn’t able to handle.
That lead didn’t last forever, though. Eight minutes into the second period, Andrew Agozzino tied up the game with a close quarters toe drag to beat Christopher Gibson. From then on, Lake Erie controlled the second, taking 14 of the 21 shots on goal over the course of the period.
The Marlies looked much sharper in the third, taking controlling the flow of the play and nearly scoring a go-ahead goal at the midway point. To everyone’s amazement, however, Calvin Pickard got his glove on a puck that seemed destined to go in, continuing the stalemate to the point that overtime was required. In the extra frame, with a little over a minute to go, Greg McKegg wrapped around the Lake Erie net and tucked home the game winner.
I’m going to go completely against the grain here and not pick a player, but rather the young anthem singer from tonight. Microphone difficulties prevented them from singing the Star Spangled Banner, but the crowd sang along to a recording of the US anthem. From there, the kid belted out O’ Canada better than most others do. Full marks to them, I would’ve curled up into a ball and had a panic attack the second my mic failed and I’m at least twice their age.
- If I were going to give the Blue Warrior to an actual player, it would definitely be Greg McKegg. His 15th and 16th of the season bring him a little closer to his total of 19 from 2013/14, his current career high. He’s done it in sixteen fewer games, which is impressive.
- Christopher Gibson started in goal for Toronto tonight, and really kept his team in this one, making 29 saves on 30 shots. This game is probably over some time in the second period without him.
- Denver Manderson and Patrick Watling drew into the lineup today, filling in the roster holes left by Sam Carrick (with the Leafs), Troy Bodie (suspended), and Tyler Biggs (out for the rest of the year with an injury).
- Tom Nilsson returned to the lineup tonight, after missing a few weeks with an injury. He took a single shot, but was otherwise off the stat sheet.
Summing It Up
Star Wars Night is one of the wackiest promotion ideas I’ve seen from a team in a while, and despite the fact I didn’t understand any of it, I thought it was fantastic. As for the team on the ice, they found a way to recover from a weak second period and come out on top, which you have to give him credit for. Oh, and three on three overtime rules. The Marlies will return to the ice tomorrow afternoon to take on Rochester.
Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com