December 9th, 2013
TORONTO– Head coach Steve Spott has put his club on notice that it’s time to start helping out their goaltenders.
The Marlies dropped back-to-back games this weekend to division foes and in each contest the team managed to produce just one goal. Troy Bodie scored in a 2-1 loss Friday night to the Lake Erie Monsters while Korbinian Holzer produced the lone goal in a 2-1 defeat against the Hamilton Bulldogs Saturday.
“We’re just putting too much heat on our goaltenders. We’re scoring one goal a night and it’s tough to win hockey games with that type of offensive production,” Spott said. “We have to play a certain style and I think they’re realizing that, but we over passed the puck (against Hamilton) and I think it cost us.”
The Marlies opened the season with a roster limited on offensive skill, but found ways to win as Trevor Smith, T.J. Brennan and Spencer Abbott carried most of the work load. However, Smith is now playing with the Maple Leafs while Brennan and Abbott’s production has slowed down drastically.
Brennan still leads all AHL defenceman in scoring with 11 goals and 23 points but, after registering 10 goals in his first 10 contests, the 24-year-old has one goal in his last 12 games. And Abbott has three points in his last seven outings after his 13-game point streak was snapped in mid-November.
“With the lineup we got we have some challenges offensively, but those are two names that come to mind that we simply need more from,” said Spott, despite both of them still being one-two in team scoring.
Toronto has just two forwards who have scored at least five goals each and neither of them was in the lineup against the Bulldogs. Greg McKegg sat out with an upper-body injury and Josh Leivo found himself a healthy scratch. Leivo has gone five games without scoring and Spott didn’t seem pleased with his performance Friday against Lake Erie.
Bodie has been the Marlies most productive player recently with three goals in eight games since being demoted by the Leafs.
Brad Ross has one goal in 17 games, Tyler Biggs has scored twice in 20 contests and Andrew Crescenzi is without a goal in 20 games.
“For me we have to execute better,” said Spott. “We’re the fanciest blue-collar team on some nights and we just can’t be. We have to get pucks and bodies to the net. We compete, we play hard, but the challenge for us is buying into a certain game and that’s simple.”
The Marlies next game is Friday when they face the Bulldogs in Hamilton.