Marlies Hot & Cold: February 18th to February 24th

Mark Owuya went 1-0-1 this week, which bolds well considering he’s fighting for playing time with veteran Drew MacIntyre- Image Courtesy of Graig Abel

TORONTO- It wasn’t the type of week that makes any coach happy as the Toronto Marlies barely skated away with just one win in four games.

Despite outshooting Houston 26-14, Tim Connolly scored the only goal on Monday as the Marlies dropped a 2-1 shootout decision to the Aeros.

Drew MacIntyre stopped 13 shots in his first loss with Toronto.

Joe Colborne had two goals and an assist on Wednesday, however the Marlies lost 4-3 to the host Syracuse Crunch, by way of the shootout.

Ryan Hamilton had a goal and an assist for Toronto while Mark Owuya turned away 32-of-35 shots in defeat.

On Saturday, head coach Dallas Eakins showed his frustration as the Marlies dropped their third game in a row. A 3-1 defeat at the hands of the visiting Milwaukee Admirals.

“We wanted to play desperate we didn’t do that, we wanted to play physical, we didn’t do that and we wanted a net presence and we didn’t do that,” said an agitated Eakins post game. “Somehow we were able to hang around. We can’t go into these games and wait for the third period and turn it on and feel all nice and fuzzy about ourselves. The games are 60 minutes long and we need that from our group.”

Spencer Abbott scored the lone goal for Toronto and MacIntyre stopped 25-of-27 shots in a losing cause.

The Marlies offence exploded for five goals in the second period on Sunday against the visiting St John’s IceCaps, but Toronto almost gave up a four-goal lead and held on for a 5-4 victory.

Jake Gardiner had a goal and two assists for the Marlies while Hamilton chipped in with two assists.

Will Acton, Carter Ashton, Kenny Ryan and Jerry D’Amigo also scored for Toronto and Owuya made 36 saves for his fourth win of the season.

Toronto’s offence, which had produced only 11 goals in six games prior to its five-goal second period against the IceCaps, has also struggled recently with its power play, going 3-for-32 in its last seven outings.

“We’re working at it, coaches are helping us, but you need to put in the effort to get the results,” said Hamilton. “Hopefully the power play will get it done soon.”

The Marlies are currently 27-18-6, which places them first in the North Division and third in the Western Conference. With the conference being as tight as it is, the club is only two points from falling out of a playoff spot.

Toronto’s next game is Wednesday Feb. 27th when it hosts the Rochester Americans.

Here are the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers for the week of Feb. 18th to Feb. 24th.

Who’s Hot

Joe Colborne

Season Stats: 48 GP 9 G 21 A 30 PTS

Colborne recorded his third three-point game of the season against the Crunch and has been the Marlies best forward since the return of the NHL. The 22-year-old was the one forward Eakins gave some credit against the Admirals, despite not registering a point, as he generated three scoring chances that should have been finished.

Ryan Hamilton

Season Stats: 47 GP 21 G 13 A 34 PTS

Hamilton had two multi-point games this week and continues to be the Marlies active leader in both goals and points. While his scoring has simmered since January, the captain is on pace for his first 30-goal campaign and could still push John Pohl’s record of 36 goals in one season, set in 2005-06.

Jake Gardiner

Season Stats: 34 GP 10 G 15 A 25 PTS

Gardiner picked up four points this week, high-lighted by his first goal since being sent down from the Leafs against the IceCaps. Eakins has pushed the 21-year-old for upwards of 30 minutes per game recently, including playing the full two-minutes of a PP. He has proven that he is ready to return to the Leafs, but the club will not rush him back.

Who’s Cold

Greg McKegg

Season Stats: 36 GP 6 G 3 A 9 PTS

McKegg had to fight an inflated roster for playing time early in the season, however he found himself a healthy scratch against the Crunch and IceCaps for lack of production. Eakins said that the rookie needs to show more “desperation” in his game if he wants back in the lineup.

Nicolas Deschamps

Season Stats: 46 GP 7 G 9 A 16 PTS

Deschamps was a healthy scratch as well against the IceCaps after being given ample opportunities to produce, but didn’t. He has just two assists in his last seven games and with his game being inconsistent, it makes you wonder how much of last year’s success came from his line mate, and fellow Frenchmen, Phil Dupuis.

Paul Ranger

Season Stats: 31 GP 6 G 14 A 20 PTS

Ranger has now missed 14 games with a concussion and he still isn’t practicing with the club. He is skating on his own, but the team needs him now more than ever to assist with their lackluster power play and relieve Gardiner of his heavy minutes. The 28-year-old also brings accountability to the players on the bench.

Look for the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers every Monday.

KYLE CICERELLA

 

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