TORONTO– It was another week of hockey where the Toronto Marlies found themselves struggling because of the inability to score on their chances. Fortunately for them, Goaltender Drew MacIntyre bailed them out on more than one occasion.
MacIntyre stopped 27-of-28 shots on Wednesday as the Marlies edged the visiting Rochester Americans 2-1.
Captain Ryan Hamilton scored both goals for Toronto, which has beaten Rochester in five of six meetings this season.
Paul Ranger returned to the lineup against the Americans after missing 14 games with a concussion.
On Saturday head coach Dallas Eakins went back to his usual starter, Jussi Rynnas, against the visiting Binghamton Senators, however the Finnish netminder gave up four goals on 17 shots in a 4-2 defeat.
Eakins was upset post game with Rynnas’ performance, which is why he pulled him in the third period for Mark Owuya.
“We’ve got to get timely saves,” said Eakins. “We can’t have soft goals go in our net when we’re in a 2-1 game. We’re going to hold our goalies accountable no differently than we’ve held our players here before. We need them to stop the puck. There are going to be night where there are tips and things like that – I understand that – but those goals were unacceptable to me.”
Jerry D’Amigo and Greg McKegg scored for the Marlies while Nicolas Deschamps left the game for x-rays after taking a puck to the eye area.
Eakins went back to MacIntyre on Sunday and it was the right decision as he stopped 28 shots in a 2-1 shootout victory against Binghamton.
Greg Scott scored in regulation for the Marlies, who beat the Senators for the first time in four meetings this season, and Hamilton and Joe Colborne scored in the shootout.
MacIntyre joined the Marlies on a try-out contract on Feb. 13 and his solid play earned him a freshly-signed AHL deal this past week. The 29-year-old is 3-1-1 with a 1.17 goals-against average and .948 save percentage in five starts, despite his club only scoring seven combined goals in those five games.
The Marlies are now 29-19-6, which is good for first in the North Division and third in the Western Conference.
Toronto’s next game is Wednesday Mar. 6 when they host the Syracuse Crunch.
Here are the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers for the week of Feb. 25 to Mar. 3.
Season Stats: 5 GP 3-1-1 1.17 GAA .949 SV%
MacIntyre was only brought in on a try-out basis to replace Rynnas while he was with the Leafs, however the veteran netminder has outplayed Rynnas and Owuya and may be Toronto’s number-1 down the stretch after earning an AHL contract this past week. The Marlies are just 3-15-2 in games where they have scored two goals or less, and all three victories are MacIntyres.
Season Stats: 50 GP 23 G 13 A 36 PTS
Hamilton is continuing to be Toronto’s top producer as he scored twice against the Americans, including once on a penalty shot, and then scored in the shootout against the Senators. His 23 goals are just two away from his career high, set last season, and with six points in his last five outings he has been one of the few positives with the Marlies’ offence.
Season Stats: 2 GP 0 G 1 A 1 PTS
Carrick spent 37 games in the ECHL, but after being recalled on Thursday, he debuted on Saturday against the Sens and set up Greg McKegg for his first AHL point. Eakins said he was pleased with Carrick’s effort and the all-rookie line of Jamie Devane-McKegg-Carrick went from matching up against the Sens’ fourth line in the first period to playing against Binghamton’s second line in the third.
Season Stats: 18 GP 8-9-1 2.68 GAA .908 SV%
Rynnas gave up four goals on 17 shots in his return and was pulled for the first time this season by an unhappy Eakins. The coach sent a message on Sunday by turning Rynnas into a healthy scratch. In his last nine starts he’s 2-7-0 with 4.03 goals-against average and a .820 save percentage, which is why Eakins is showing more confidence in MacIntyre.
Season Stats: 9 GP 0 G 0 A 0 PTS
Brought in when the NHL lockout ended, Syvret has seen limited action and was scratched twice this week. When in the lineup he usually fills the bottom pairing on the blue line, however his average ice time is very low because of how much time has been given to the top pairing of Jake Gardiner and Jesse Blacker.
Season Stats: 14 GP 5 G 3 A 8 PTS
Connolly sat out all three games this week with a hip injury and his timetable for a return isn’t certain. With the club in dire need of more offence, and Connolly himself needing to prove his value to any other NHL club that would want him, he needs to return and be an impact.
Look for the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers every Monday.