This has got to be one of the funniest things I have ever seen. And most brilliant.

EA Sports has decided to do a weekly AHL Sim of the Week, the most recent was everyone’s favourite AHL rivalry; Hamilton vs Toronto. And I’d like to start out by saying this that even the computers know that Toronto would beat their provincial adversary.

The game took place at Copps Coliseum in front of what appears to be a sellout crowd (not too different than the Bulldog’s impressive attendance numbers this season). Opening the scoring in the first period, Ryan Hamilton notched the game’s first tally off a feed from Mike Zigomanis. The lead lasted through intermission, but it was only minutes into the second when Hamilton tied it up care-of the first of the season from Frederic St-Denis.

Man oh man did they battle hard.

Toronto threw everything but the kitchen sink at the net (I’ve always wanted to use that phrase – what better time than on a post-game report for a simulated video game). Left unresolved through regulation, the intensity spilled into extra time. With both clubs having already banked a single point, it would be a battle of will to determine who took home the second point as well as take a stride forward in 12 game series between the two hot rivals.

In the five minute extra frame, it was Toronto big man Joe Colborne who would seal the win for the Marlies. Notched at the 3:44 mark, I’m going to assume it was the first shift of the extra frame from the tall centre. It must have come half way through a defensive pairing change as the tally was assisted by Jake Gardiner and Paul Ranger.

Here is the full scoring summary.

 Following the game, as is usually the custom, the three stars were named.

The announcer puts on his biggest radio voice – likely to cut through the hum of Bulldogs fans already making their way to the exit – and proclaims “tonight’s third star, with a goal in the second period, Fred-e-ric St….. DENIS!” Those still remaining in their seats gave a hearty cheer.

The public address announcer comes back on, this time with a slightly subdued tone. “The game’s second star, scoring in overtime, Joe Colborne.” The crowd is silent. So silent that I’m pretty sure I heard the guy near the front door jingling the contents of his pocket in hopes of finding his key.

“And tonight’s first star,” the announcer is back on the microphone with his three-ring-circus voice. “Your Hamilton Bulldogs netminder; with 34 saves; the one, the only…” fans at this point are already losing their mind, screaming as if reliving the moment when the Bulldogs hoisted the Calder Cup in 2007. “Robert MAAYYYYYERRRR!” I swear there were less syllables in his name when I read it in the roster notes ahead of the game.

And that was it. The arena went dark and the game was over.

I presume if the user had selected the “rematch” option, Toronto would have once again defeated the Bulldogs but this time by a score of 6-1 – because, of course, that’s what happened at Ricoh on Saturday. Keith Aucoin would have notched a pair of goals, Nazem Kadri would walk away with four assists and Zack Stortini would wind up with a whole bunch of penalty minutes.

What a great idea from the folks at EA Sports.

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