Griffins Edge Marlies 4-3 in Overtime, Update on Zigomanis Status

November 30, 2011

Ryan Hamilton picked up his eighth goal of the season in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to Grand Rapids- Image Courtesy of Mike Ivall

TORONTO– Playing at home for the first time since a successful two-game set in St John’s against the IceCaps, the Toronto Marlies lost on Tuesday night 4-3, in overtime, to the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit affiliate).

“That was a classic game coming off the road,” said head coach Dallas Eakins. “I thought our guys were dopey and not quite focused through almost the whole game. It was like beating my head against the wall.”

Toronto trailed on three separate occasions as Brendan Smith, Brent Raedeke and Tomas Tatar each had goals for Grand Rapids before Landon Ferraro scored the winner in overtime.

Nazem Kadri led the Marlies with two goals and Ryan Hamilton added the other.

Kelsey Wilson had two assists while Jeff Finger, Simon Gysbers, Jerry D’Amigo and Darryl Boyce each had one.

Tom McCollum made 37 saves for his second win of the year as Mark Owuya turned aside 34 shots in defeat.

The Griffins went 1-for-5 on the power play while the Marlies scored once on six opportunities with the man advantage.

Toronto’s top ranked penalty kill was tested most in the final 13 minutes of regulation time as they had to kill off, in order, a double minor to Hamilton for a high stick, a hooking minor against Boyce and then another hooking minor against Hamilton.

“The guys that kill penalties were taking the penalties, that hurt a little bit,” said Eakins about all the short-handed time in the third period. “But, it’s tough, some of the calls that get made, I think they players are unsure of what’s a penalty sometimes.”

Kelsey Wilson picked up two assists in Tuesday's 4-3 overtime loss to Grand Rapids- Image Courtesy of Mike Ivall

Leafs prospect Jesse Blacker didn’t put out his best performance and finished the night a team worst minus-2. However, Eakins refused to let it bother the rookie.

“I didn’t think Jesse had his best game,” said Eakins. “It was one of those nights that I was thinking of taking him off in different situations, but I decided to stick with him, encourage him and not rip him off the ice. He battled back and I do like that. But, Jesse Blacker has played better games.”

Finger recorded a point in his third straight game since returning to the line up, something Eakins touched on.

 “He’s had this thing going on with some numbness in his arm all year so we’ve had to manage when we can play him and when we are not. It seems like it’s starting to alleviate itself and he’s got some consecutive games in there. He plays a hard game.”

Out of the line up for the game was leading scorer Mike Zigomanis, which had an effect on both sides of the special teams. But his absence is nothing to get bothered about.

“Ziggy’s day-to-day,” said Eakins.  “He has a couple different things going on. He maybe could have played today but its’ just not the time of the season to push a guy like that in. My guess is he’ll be back in the line up next game.”

That next game will be this Friday when the Marlies play a rematch against the Griffins in Grand Rapids. Game time is 7pm

Worth Noting

  • The win snapped the Marlies six-game winning streak however they have still picked up points in eight straight games
  • Nazem Kadri has five goals in his last three games
  • Mark Owuya has only lost once in regulation time in seven starts
  • Matt Caruana dressed for the first time since being called up from the ECHL Reading Royals
  • Kenny Ryan sat out with an undisclosed upper-body injury
  • Greg Scott had five shots on goal, including two breakaways, but couldn’t score
  • Attendance was 4584

Kyle Cicerella


Marlies Hot & Cold: November 21st-27th

November 28, 2011

Nazem Kadri had five poins in two games against the St. John`s IceCaps- Image Courtesy of Jeff Parsons

TORONTO– The Toronto Marlies spent all week practicing, as they only played two games this week and they were both on the weekend.

The Marlies played the St. John’s IceCaps twice on the weekend and beat them 4-3 in overtime on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday.

Currently, Toronto is 12-5-3, have won six in a row and are first in the North Division with 27 points.

With that said, here are the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers for the week of November 21st to 27th.

Who’s Hot

Nazem Kadri

Season Stats:13 GP 4 G 11 A 15 PTS

Had two goals and two assists on Friday and chipped in another goal on Saturday for five points in two games. Has taken over much of the offence in the absence of Joe Colborne.



Marcel Mueller

Season Stats: 17 GP 4 G 14 A 18 PTS

Registered multi-point performances in both games with a total of one goal and three assists. Had 13 points in last nine games.




Jeff Finger

Season Stats: 12 GP 2 G 3 A 5 PTS

Returned to the line up and scored the game winner in overtime on Friday. Set up the game winner on Saturday and totaled three points in two games.


Who’s Cold

Luca Caputi

Season Stats: 11 GP 1 G 0 A 1 PTS

Has missed nine consecutive games with a hand injury. Has been listed as day-to-day for almost three weeks but has yet to skate at practice.



Kyle Neuber

Season Stats: 10 GP 0 G 0 A 0 PTS

Not expected to score, as he is a secondary enforcer, but he picked up a 10 minute misconduct on Saturday after late in the third period; something head coach Dallas Eakins is likely  not too thrilled about.

Jesse Blacker

Season Stats: 18 GP 0 G 7 A 7 PTS

Has not played poorly by any means, but only has one assist in his last six games. Because of recent call-ups, the offensive defenceman will be expected to produce more, especially on the power play.


Look for Marlies hot and cold performers every Monday

Kyle Cicerella


Weekend Recap: Marlies Take Two in St. John’s, Stay atop North Division

November 28, 2011

Mark Owuya made 29 saves on Friday as the Marlies defeated the IceCaps 4-3 in overtime- Image Courtesy of Jeff Parsons

TORONTO– With two road victories over the weekend, the Toronto Marlies have now won six games in a row and picked up points in their last seven, keeping them atop the North Division.

In their first visit to Newfoundland since leaving the rock in 2005, the Marlies played the St John’s IceCaps twice and came away with victories both times.

On Friday, Nazem Kadri contributed two goals and two assists as Toronto beat St. John’s 4-3 in overtime.

Jeff Finger returned to action and scored the game-winning goal with 49 seconds remaining in the extra period while Josh Engel rounded out the Marlies scoring.

Both Marcel Mueller and Mike Zigomanis had two assists as Kelsey Wilson, and Jerry D’Amigo chipped in singles.

Travis Ramsey, Jason King and Jason DeSantis scored for the IceCaps.

Mark Owuya turned aside 29 shots, picking up his third straight victory, while Peter Mannino made 29 saves in defeat.

Both teams had success with the power play, as the Marlies scored twice on four opportunities and the IceCaps once on five chances.

On Saturday, Captain Ryan Hamilton scored a goal and assisted on two others as Toronto beat St John’s 6-3, sweeping the two-game series.

Mueller had a goal and an assist while Greg Scott, Tyler Brenner, Kadri and D’Amigo added singles.

Darryl Boyce and Finger each had two assists as Will Acton, and Zigomanis had one apiece.

Spencer Machacek scored twice for St John’s and Marco Rosa had the other.

Jussi Rynnas made 26 saves for the win, his third in a row as well, and Edward Pasquale stopped 20 shots for the loss.

Both teams continued their success with the man advantage as the Marlies went 2-for-5 and the IceCaps scored once on three opportunities.

Toronto will practice Monday at the Ricoh Coliseum before hosting the Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday at 7pm.

Kelsey Wilson picked up an assist in Friday's 4-3 overtime victory- Image Courtesy of Jeff Parsons

Worth Noting

  • Darryl Boyce returned to action on Friday after missing seven games with a back injury
  • With Keith Aulie missing Saturday’s game due to call up, Drew Paris was back in the line up as a sixth D man
  • Former NHLer David Aebischer dressed as back up for the IceCaps on Saturday. He’s just 2-3-0 with a 3.49 GAA and .871 SV% this season
  • Kyle Nueber picked up a roughing minor and was assessed a 10 minute misconduct on Sunday after laying a questionable hit on Patrice Cormier
  • Kenny Ryan missed Sunday’s game after taking a questionable hit from Cormier on Friday
  • Marcel Mueller is 8th in AHL at plus 10
  • Mike Zigomanis is currently 7th in the league with 16 assists, 10 by way of power play which is 2nd best in league
  • Every team in North Division is minus is the goals for/goals against except for Marlies who are plus 9
  • Marlies power play is 20th in league at 16.3%, 17/104. Marlies penalty kill is 1st in league at 89.8%, 79/88.
  • Lake Erie are 5-0-1 in last six, back to .500. Much to do with return of starting goalie Cedrick Desjardins who’s 5-2-1 with league best 1.62 GAA and .948 SV%.
  • Ex-Leaf Garnett Exelby has 89 penalty minutes in 18 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins

Kyle Cicerella


Leafs Prospect Kenny Ryan: The Decision that got him to Pro Hockey

November 24, 2011

Kenny Ryan in action with the Toronto Marlies- Image Courtesy of Mike Ivall

TORONTO– Leafs prospect and current Toronto Marlies forward Kenny Ryan is 11 games into his first professional season of hockey and to this point he would say it has gone just as planned.

“It’s going well so far,” he said after Tuesday’s skate at the MasterCard Centre. “Obviously it’s a big transition for me coming from juniors but for the most part I’ve done well.”

In 2009, the Leafs drafted the 20 year old native of Franklin, Michigan in the second round, 50th overall.

At the time, he was 18, had completed his stay with the U.S National Under-18 Team and was committed to attend Boston College.

He even suited up in an exhibition game with them before the season started in the fall, but that October he made a choice that stunned the school; it also helped to fast-track his career.

“The U.S. National program is only a two year program,” Ryan said. “After that I was committed to Boston College but I decided to go to Windsor. That was a long discussion and process but it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Instead of taking the college path to the pros, the young American crossed the border from Detroit to Windsor and suited up with the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires.

“I don’t know if I’d be this far along in my career right now if it wasn’t for the opportunities I had there,” said Ryan with confidence before adding, “It prepared me. Playing I think it was 68 games in a junior season, playoffs, game sevens, all those scenarios in juniors are great.”

On top of everything Ryan mentioned about the benefits of coming north, playing with the Spitfires also gave him an opportunity to learn another position. And, now being a duel player, Ryan is making the most of it with injuries at both positions for the Marlies.

“I played my junior career at centre but I grew up playing wing,” said Ryan about one of the biggest changes he had to make at the junior level. “I think I’m pretty good at both of them now and can hold my own, at least. Right now wherever I can play the most is where I will play. Biggest thing for me right now is getting in the line up and being an impact player, doing what I can to play as much in the games and get more ice time.”

Kenny Ryan in action with the Windsor Spitfires- Image Courtesy of Frank Gunn

While starting the season in and out of the line up, recently Ryan has suited up in seven consecutive games. One by one he’s starting to scratch off first’s from the to-do list; first goal, first penalty, first fight etc.

The Marlies could have sent Ryan back to the OHL as an over-ager, like they did with Jamie Devane, but they have kept him a quarter of the way into the season because they feel he is ready for pro hockey from his experiences with the Spitfires.

It isn’t that college doesn’t work but, unlike junior, you need to balance athletics with academics while only playing 30-35 game seasons. Plus, if you wanted to graduate, you would be 22 before ever getting to play pro.

“College hockey is great and a lot of benefits come from it,” said Ryan. “But, it’s not for everyone and for me personally, that was a decision I made and I’ve never looked back on it.”

Kyle Cicerella