Sam Carrick has played hockey in the Toronto area for a long time. The 21-year-old played his entire OHL career in Brampton, totalling almost 300 games with the Battalion. After a stint with Idaho in the ECHL, the Stouffville native returned home to play his 1st AHL game in his own backyard. Lacing them up for the Marlies on Saturday vs the Binghamton Senators, the Maple Leafs 5th rounder was quick
to make it a milestone affair. Sam tallied an assist on Toronto’s opening goal of the game, and grabbed his 1st AHL point. Part of an energy line with two other OHL grads (McKegg and Devane) the trio garnered a lot of ice time in both Saturday and Sunday’s contests.
The string of home games continues for the Marlies and do the special events at Ricoh. Toronto enters off a 2-1 shootout win over Binghamton as part of Canadian Forces Appreciation Day. While the players dawned camo and put two points in the bag, the real winners were the military service men and women who were recognized for their efforts in defending our country and aiding in our freedom. The Marlies, with the MLSE Team Up Foundation helped raise over 36 thousand for the Soldier On Fund and it was an honour to greet some of the best this country has to offer.
Drew MacIntyre was more than just a star post game, he was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending March 3rd. MacIntyre is 3-1-1 for Toronto, with all 5 starts occurring at home. He has also collected a stunning 1.17 GAA and .948 save percentage. MacIntyre, a 10 year pro, will be honoured before the next Marlies home game.
That brings us to another great event at Ricoh…the school day game! It arrives Wednesday at 11am as the Marlies prepare to host the Syracuse Crunch. Toronto will play their 1st of 2 school day games and expect the Ricoh to be filled with students from across the GTA.
Wednesday’s special has the Syracuse Crunch in town. In their previous incarnation, the Crunch last played as the Norfolk Admirals and last played in Toronto as they captured the Calder Cup. Tampa Bay’s affiliate then relocated to New York state and dawned a new look. This year’s club is once again near the top of the Eastern Conference and overall, rest behind Springfield, but in front of Texas in the top 3 teams in the AHL. Like many other AHL teams, Syracuse have lost several players to their NHL affiliate. Most recently goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, along with the likes of Ondrej Palat, Brendan Mikkelson, and Alex Killorn have moved up. In the last meeting between the 2 teams, the Crunch came back to win in a shootout over the Marlies 4-3 and that would act as 1 of their 8 straight wins. However, the tides have turned and the Baby Bolts have dropped 3 straight. Despite the loss of Cory Conacher to Tampa, another super sophomore, Tyler Johnson, has continued his strong play with 55 points to his name.
On Saturday the Abbotsford Heat arrive on their 3rd trip in this season. The Calgary affiliate have collected 3 wins out of 4 games vs Toronto this year. The Heat have won once in their last 9 games, but also have a crack at Hamilton prior to rolling into the Ricoh. At the start of the season, it was a 3 headed monster for the Heat, who played all of Barry Brust, Leland Irving and Danny Taylor in goal. Although Taylor is still up with the Flames, the return of Mikka Kiprusoff may once again prompt the B.C. club to carry 3 tenders. Brust has lost his last 5 straight appearances, while Irving has 1 win in his last 5 games.
Sunday marks the final opponent of the week, yet the 1st sighting of Peoria this year. The St.Louis Blues affiliate find themselves in the bottom of the Midwest division and 2nd last overall in the Western Conference. On the start of a 6 game road trip, with stops in Lake Erie and Hamilton prior to Toronto, the Rivermen are aiming to break out of a win one, lose one routine that has generated 500 hockey over the last 8 games. A big plus for the club is the return of Jake Allen, from the Blues. Allen went 3-1 with the Blues this season and has consistent positive stats over his 3 years with Peoria.
Broadcasts of the games can be found: Wednesday 11 am on AHL Live via theahl.com / Saturday 3pm on Rogers TV / Sunday 3pm on Rogers TV
Enjoy a great week of Marlies hockey and the Pre Game will return again soon!
*photos courtesy of Christian at TSGphoto.com