TORONTO– The Toronto Marlies were able to skate away with two wins this past week, however they weren’t able to gain much space in the tight Western Conference standings.
Ryan Hamilton scored two goals and added two assists in a 6-3 victory against the visiting Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday.
Toronto was fortunate to hit first intermission tied 2-2, after being outshot 22-5. The game broke open, however, as the Marlies scored on their first two shots in the second period, which ended Riku Helenius’ night.
“Today was an up and down game that showed you how important goaltending is,” said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. “Ours was very good and theirs was not.”
The Marlies were outshot 43-19 overall.
Drew MacIntyre stopped 40 shots for his fourth win while Spencer Abbott scored twice and Jesse Blacker and Paul Ranger had the others.
Jake Gardiner, Mike Zigomanis and Kenny Ryan picked up two assists apiece.
Joe Colborne and Greg Scott scored for Toronto in a 4-2 loss to the visiting Abbotsford Heat on Saturday.
An important inter-division game, the Marlies were outshot for the fifth time in a row and Eakins admitted his club just didn’t have it in them.
“We weren’t very good today,” said Eakins. “They took it upon themselves rather than working together and that usually comes back to bite you in the rear end. We clearly could not generate any offence, at least through the first two periods.”
Toronto could only produce 18 shots despite the return of top-6 players Tim Connolly and Carter Ashton.
MacIntyre stopped 19-of-23 shots as he allowed four goals for the first time in eight starts.
The Rookies led the way on Sunday as Brad Ross had two goals and an assist and Greg McKegg had three assists in a 4-1 win against the visiting Peoria Rivermen.
“We were looking for who’s got it today and he had it going,” Eakins said of Ross. “He was involved right away. Not only in going to the net, he was involved verbally and he was on the body.”
Jerry D’Amigo and Dylan Yeo scored for the Marlies and Gardiner set up two goals.
Jussi Rynnas turned away 20 shots to even his record at 9-9-2 while Toronto put 30 shots against Paul Karpowich in his AHL debut.
Toronto is now 31-20-6 and sits third in the Western Conference with 68 points. The club holds a two point lead over the Rochester Americans for first in the North Division and the Heat trail by only three points.
The Marlies next game is Wednesday March. 13th when they host a division-rival the Lake Erie Mosters, who are fourth in the North and five points first.
Here are the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers for the week of March 4th to March 10th.
Season Stats: 20 GP 3 G 1 A 4 PTS
With just one goal in 19 games, and a broken wrist that forced him down to the ECHL, Ross returned to lineup against the Rivermen and had the best game of his pro career with two goals and an assist. The rookie’s play will earn him more opportunities to get in the lineup heading forward.
Season Stats: 40 GP 10 G 20 A 30 PTS
Gardiner had two multi-point games this week and has one goal and seven assists in his last seven contests. His 10 goals leads all active AHL defencemen and his production should continue to soar with the huge minutes he continues to log. Both he and Eakins made it clear the blue liners ready to return to the NHL, whenever a spot opens.
Season Stats: 52 GP 25 G 15 A 40 PTS
Hamilton’s first-career four-point game, which came against the Crunch, jumped him ahead of Keith Aucoin for the team lead in points. His 25 goals puts him fifth in AHL scoring and he is on pace to break John Pohl’s 2005-06 single-season record of 36.
Season Stats: 32 GP 0 G 13 A 13 PTS
Mottau has missed the last five games with an undisclosed injury, which has forced Eakins to alter his defensive pairings. The veteran was becoming an important role player for the club before going down, and the coach has chosen to play five defencemen at times while he’s been out.
Season Stats: 14 GP 1 G 0 A 1 PTS
Since scoring his first AHL goal, Crescenzi has gone silent offensively with no points and just six shots-on-goal in his last 10 games. With six healthy centremen in the lineup, Crescenzi will need to do more to keep his consistent time on the third line.
Season Stats: 4-4-1 3.24 GAA .882 SV%
Owuya has patiently sat back as the third-string goaltender and watched Jussi Rynnas struggle and Drew MacIntyre flourish. The Swede’s last start was a 4-3 SO loss to the Crunch on Feb. 24th and the club will likely find a home for him in the ECHL if they can’t get him more playing time.
Look for the Toronto Marlies hot and cold performers every Monday.