It’s back! The table has been set for another pre game meal and it kicks off a busy month of February.
A pair of first’s to recognize, appropriately…first! Congratulations are in order to the Toronto Maple Leaf’s defenceman and Marlie grad – Korbinian Holzer as he put home his 1st NHL goal in his 5th NHL game with the Leafs. Holzer provided the tally in the 2nd period of the February 5th game vs. Washington. As it turns out, it would also provide the Leafs with the win on the night and his former Marlie ‘D’ partner, Mark Fraser, would earn an assist on the goal.
The other first belongs to the Marlies forward Jamie Devane. A graduate of Plymouth from the Ontario Hockey League, he also briefly laced them up for the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls this season, before arriving to Toronto. Devane would also score his 1st pro/Marlies goal in his 5th AHL game with Toronto. The Mississauga boy took a pass out of the penalty box and impressed family and friends with a beauty breakaway tally.
With 16 of their 18 games between February 2nd and March 16th played at home, Toronto will try to take advantage of life at Ricoh Coliseum. The Marlies have not lost back to back home games all season and will aim to extend that streak past this weekend’s play. Boasting the fewest regulation losses and 2nd most wins at home among all of the Western Conference, the fans and the building which houses them at 100 Princes’ Blvd has again gained a fearsome reputation. The Marlies have also produced the 2nd most home goals in their conference and illustrated, even in the loss Wednesday that they can still provide scoring, despite a ton of their point getters moving up to the Maple Leafs. The Marlies have surrendered 20 goals against over their last 5 games and will likely fight to change that trend when facing Chicago and Texas this weekend.
The Chicago Wolves come to town for the 1st of two matchups on the season vs. the Marlies. With an experienced coaching staff (that look like they could still play) the trio of Scott Arniel, Mike Foligno and Nolan Baumgartner bring a wealth of battle tested hockey to the windy city bench. The Wolves are led up front by their veteran performer Darren Haydar and the Milton native, in 5 seasons with Chicago, has become the “face of the franchise.” Haydar will be relied upon more heavily with Brett Sterling expected to remain out of the lineup due to injury. With Eddie Lack on the shelf long term, it appears, Chicago has turned to rookie Joe Cannata for every game in February. Despite some of the injury speed bumps, the Wolves have lost only four times since 2013 began.
One of the Wolves losses in the new year came at the hands of the Texas Stars, the Sunday opponent to the Toronto Marlies. The Stars could enter Ricoh holding down 1st place in the Western Conference, thanks to a 6 game winning streak to open 2013. Overall since the new year began, the farm affiliate of Dallas has won 11 of 14. Matt Fraser has held the hot stick with 22 goals on the season and has mirrored his team’s success.
Toronto hosts Chicago Saturday 3pm with the game on Rogers TV/TSN 1050 AM Radio or AHL Live
then it is the Texas Stars who roll in Sunday at 3pm and you can find the game on Rogers TV or AHL Live
Thanks for stopping by the blog and it will be back next week!