It is another two game week for the Marlies, so it leaves plenty of room for munching on the latest team news!
It could be a two milestone week for the Toronto Marlies Hockey Club. Brad Ross scored his 1st pro goal on Sunday, and it was timely vs. the Abbotsford Heat. Ross tipped in a point shot during the 3rd period that would tie the game at two goals apiece and produce a comeback for Toronto in the game. While the Calgary Flames affiliate spoiled the party, Ross still has a memory to last a lifetime. After 109 in the WHL with Portland, congrats on a big number 1 with the Marlies in the AHL.
Keith Aucoin has already planted his name firmly on the AHL record books, but is due up for another historical moment. Aucoin is currently tied with former Maple Leaf (and a former head coach of his) Bruce Boudreau for 11th in all-time AHL scoring, with 799 career points. When Aucoin records point number 800, he will become one of only 11 players to have ever notched that many during an AHL career…which, by the way, is not over for the 34 year old.
Just when you thought that there could not possibly be any more stats to pull out of the Toronto-Rochester rivalry matchups, you are wrong! Despite the fact the two teams will meet again Saturday, there is more to pass along than just the series goal totals…. (14-7 favouring Toronto). Here it is…..get ready……ok: In all four games prior to the one on Saturday, the Marlies have had a two goal performance from a different player in each game vs Rochester and the player scoring has decided the game each time!
Game 1: 3-1 Toronto win: Ryan Hamilton scores goals (1) and (2) on the season, including the game winner.
Game 2: 4-1 Toronto win: Matt Frattin scores goals (6) and (7) on the season, including the game winner.
Game 3: 3-2 (OT) Toronto win: Nazem Kadri scores goals (3) and (4) on the season, including the game winner.
Game 4: 4-3 Toronto win: Jake Gardiner scores goals (8) and (9) on the season, including the game winner.
Toronto remains undefeated this season over division rival Rochester. While the Marlies will have last played almost a week ago Sunday vs. Abbotsford, the Americans play twice prior to facing Toronto on Saturday. Rochester picked up a 3-2 shootout win over the same Heat on Tuesday. T.J. Brennan scored the winner in the 6th round of shootout action and the Amerks dressed a healthier lineup with both Zemgus Girgensons and Nick Tarnasky returning from injury. There is a chance that Cody Hodgson may be ready by the weekend, as well. If Rochester pulls out a win against Lake Erie Friday night, it would propel them into 3rd place in the North Division, just a single point behind the Marlies.
Sunday marks the second time the Marlies will host the Griffins this year. The Detroit Red Wings affiliate has been one of the hotter teams in the American Hockey League with their play of late. The Griffins host Peoria ahead of meeting Toronto and could be in 2nd place in the Western Conference before rolling into Ricoh. Since debuting Peter Mrazek in goal November 3rd, the Griffins have won 11 of 14 games, at the time of this article. Mrazek has won 7 of his last 9, including the first 6 games of his career and has also pushed Tom McCullom to play better, as well.
Staying with the goaltending theme, it may once again be a rotation between Scrivens and Rynnas in goal this weekend. Ben has a 4-0 record over Rochester and has made 116 saves over that time, frustrating the Americans. Rynnas is attempting to return after suffering a groin injury and has been taking in full practice over the past week. Jussi faced the Griffins and made 28 saves in a 4-3 shootout loss. Before injury, he had won back to back starts and 2 of his 3 wins were shutouts.
Thanks for chowing down on another Pre Game blog and here’s how you can pick up the games this weekend:
Saturday Dec 15th 7pm at Rochester: TSN 1050 Radio
Sunday Dec 16th 3pm vs. Grand Rapids: TSN 1050 Radio/Rogers TV