November 10, 2014
TORONTO – A quick trip to the ECHL was enough for Brad Ross to step up his game.
The 22-year-old, who was demoted in October to the Orlando Solar Bears, was summoned by Toronto last week after the club found itself in need of forwards.
He suited up in both games over the weekend for the Marlies and was noticeable in each — regardless of where coach Gord Dineen slated him into the lineup.
While playing on the top line alongside centre Greg McKegg and right-winger Connor Brown, Ross opened the scoring in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Barons. He also tacked on an assist on McKegg’s third goal of the season.
“Going down to Orlando, got a kick in the butt there,” Ross told LeafsTV post-game.
Dineen was thrilled with what he saw out of Ross and hopes to see him play that way more often.
“Ross was really good, best I’ve seen him play, actually, in three years he’s been here,” said Dineen.
The Lethbridge, Alta. native didn’t hit the scoresheet in Friday’s 3-2 win against the San Antonio Rampage. He did, however, play the type of physical game that got him drafted by Toronto out of junior, getting under the opponents skin enough to cause a first-period altercation while playing a bottom-six role alongside Tyler Biggs and David Broll.
“He’s a character kid, brings a lot of energy and when he’s on the ice things happen,” said Dineen.
Ross, six-foot-one 183-pounds, has had difficulties staying consistent as a pro and has found himself in the ECHL at least once in each season he’s been with Toronto.
In his most recent stint with Orlando, the left-winger had three goals and six points in seven games.
Currently the Marlies are without some key players up front— including Spencer Abbott (injury) and Josh Leivo, Sam Carrick and Trevor Smith, whom are with the Maple Leafs — which means Ross will most likely be sticking around with Toronto, for now, instead of heading back down to Orlando.
Ross will have all week to practise with the Marlies as their next game isn’t until Nov. 14 against the Rochester Americans. It will give him a chance to familiarize himself with whatever linemates Dineen feels he’s best suited to play with while also rebuilding some confidence that was lost after his last demotion.
Success now, according to Ross, will come if he can repeat his performance from Saturday and not fall back of the pack.
“I want to play like I did (against Oklahoma City), every night.”