TORONTO-The Toronto Marlies dropped one of their three games this week, however they continue to roll as one of the hottest teams in the American Hockey League.
Spencer Abbott scored the lone goal on Wednesday as the Marlies fell 4-1 to the host Rockford IceHogs.
Abbott’s 10th of the season gave Toronto a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play, but the IceHogs stormed back with four unanswered goals.
The regulation-time loss was the first in nine outings for the Marlies after earning at least one point in eight straight games.
Drew MacIntyre stopped 26-of-29 shots in defeat.
Mike Zigomanis had a season-high three assists and was a plus-4 on Friday as Toronto rebounded with a 4-1 victory against the host Rochester Americans.
Brad Ross, Jerry D’Amigo, Joe Colborne and Paul Ranger scored for the Marlies, who have won eight-of-nine meetings this season against their North-Division foe.
Toronto dominated for a large portion of the contest, outshooting the Americans 40-15, as MacIntyre made 14 saves for the victory.
The Marlies gave up a two-goal third-period lead on Saturday against the visiting Abbotsford Heat, but Colborne scored at 52 seconds into overtime to give Toronto a 4-3 win.
“We were living on fumes,” said Eakins. “It wasn’t how we wanted the third to go but it was hard to get upset about knowing what sort of state these guys were in coming off the road….getting the two points were huge.”
Greg Scott, Jamie Devane and Ross also scored for the Marlies, who have defeated Abbotsford only twice in six meetings this season, while Colborne tacked on an assist for a two-point outing.
Starting his 15th game since joining Toronto in early February, MacIntyre turned away 19 shots for his 10th win, which ties him with Jussi Rynnas for the team lead among active goaltenders.
The Marlies are 7-1-2 in their last 10 and went 10-3-3 in the month of March, giving them an overall record of 38-21-8. Toronto currently sits second in the Western Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season.
The club’s next game is Wednesday at 11am when the Lake Erie Monsters head to Toronto for a school-day promotional game.
Here are the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers for the week of March 25th to March 31st.
Season Stats: 58 GP 6 G 20 A 26 PTS
Eakins made reference to two players who have carried the work load recently and one of them was Zigomanis. While his production has been down for most of the season, he picked up four assists in two games this week and has nine points in his last 10 outings. The vet had nine points in 24 games before starting to heat up.
31 GP 7 G 1 A 8 PTS
Ross battled an inflated roster early in the season for playing time, then broke his wrist and ended up in the ECHL. Since returning to the Marlies, the rookie has scored six goals in his last 10 games, including goals this week in back-to-back contests. None of his goals have been pretty as they have all come from driving the front of the net, which Eakins has given him high praise for.
Season Stats 64 GP 14 G 28 A 42 PTS
Colborne is the other player Eakins mentioned that has carried the work load recently. The 23-year-old scored in consecutive games this week, including an OT winner, and has averaged nearly a point-per game since January. With two points against the Heat, Colborne tied his career high for points and surpassed last season’s total
Season Stats: 53 GP 11 G 8 A 19 PTS
Ashton tried battling through a broken bone in his foot, however it didn’t work and he’s sat out since March 14th. With an injury affecting his playing time, it’s clear that the second-year pro will finish this season with numbers far below the ones he put up in his rookie campaign. A timeline for a return is unknown, however there is no reason he shouldn’t be ready to suit up for the post season.
Season Stats: 51 GP 4 G 12 A 16 PTS
Two seasons ago Gysbers was Toronto’s top offensive blue liner, however a lot has changed since then and he’s stumbled down the depth chart. He suited up against Rockford, however he was a healthy scratch against Rochester and Abbotsford as Eakins has other offensive options from the point and Kevin Marshall eating up more minutes than originally expected.
Season Stats: 58 GP 7 G 8 A 15 PTS
Acton is primarily used to shut down the opponent’s top line. However, he’s gone 12 games without a goal, which is the longest scoring drought of the season for the second-year pro. He’s recorded just two assists in the month of March, but needs only one goal to set a new personal best and two points to surpass last season’s total, which is still possible.
Look for the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers every Monday.