Marlies Back at 0.800 after School Day Blowout

Photo Credit: Grand Rapids Griffins / via

School day games are a love-hate relationship. Yes, you’re establishing a young fanbase that could go on to care about the players for their entire careers and the team for their entire lives. Yes, they’re more into it than the adults are. But, at the same time, you have to get up early just to hear a bunch of children scream at octaves you forgot existed. It’s even worse when you’re the away team because you’ve travelled for the privilege.

That pain is eased when the final buzzer sounds, your team has a considerably large win, and you’ve still got a full day ahead of you. Such is the case for the Toronto Marlies, who, despite being outshot, skated away with a commanding 4-0 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Toronto asserted their spot on the scoresheet quickly, with Mark Arcobello streaking into the offensive zone and absolutely shelving a backhand past Jared Coreau to give the Marlies the lead. It wasn’t Arcobello’s only contribution of the period, either; just two minutes later, a well-won faceoff quickly led to a snapshot from Matt Frattin to widen the gap.

This, combined with Toronto outshooting Grand Rapids by nearly double in the first period, put the blue and white into a position of power heading into the second period, one that Connor Brown bolstered just six minutes in with his third goal in two games since returning from injury.

It’s a good thing that he did, too, because the Griffins poured it on in the back forty. In that time frame, Toronto was outshot 32-10, which in many situations sounds like a great way to lose a hockey game. In this one, however, it worked out just fine. Garret Sparks had one of his best appearances of the year this afternoon, standing on his head to supplement the built-up lead with an impressive 39 save shutout. For his efforts, Sparks was named first star, though he didn’t seem too pumped up about it.

Having played the full game, Sparks once again has sufficient minutes played to be included in league-wide statistical rankings of goaltenders. He now leads the American Hockey League in save percentage with an insane 0.937; four points ahead of second place Matt Murray, considered by many to be one of the best goaltending prospects in the world. It’s certainly an impressive pace for the 22-year-old, who similarly led the ECHL in save percentage last season. 

With the win, the Marlies move to 35-8-2 and return to having an insane 0.800 points percentage. Their goal differential is now up to an insane +71; just one away from being higher than the second and third place teams combined. Ontario and Wilkes-Barre both play tonight, however, so it’s possible that a the statistic could change in either direction.

Toronto’s next game comes on Friday night, once again against Grand Rapids. Puck drop will be at 7:00 PM.

  • Harte of a Lion

    For all those fans complaining about the Leafs, watch the Marlies. Many of these players will be the core of the big team in the next 12-36 months.
    Go Marlies and welcome back Brown.

    • Harte of a Lion

      and certainly affordable. i always get the 10 seats, and its a streetcar ride right into ricoh. great time out. and full of high energy hockey. gonna try and make it to this weekends game.

  • Harte of a Lion

    looks like kasperi kapanen is a lot like his dad: very talented and very injured… sigh. hope it’s not a common pattern. it feels like this guy has been injured more than played.

  • magesticRAGE

    All without Nylander, lol. The rest of the AHL constitutes the’rebel forces’, gnats to be swatted away! [Insert evil laugh]
    What’s really great though, this is just the first wave. Legitimate talent will be added next season, with Timashov, Johnson, possibly Desrosher and Engvall, and I’d give Herzog a try before he’s given up on. Heck, depending on who we use our 1st pick on, they could be a Marlie as well.