Recap: Toronto Marlies @ Amerks, 03.31.12
“You want to be my hopeless depart from the scene? I must concede – you’re giving me all that I need.” (Brian Jarvis, Beautifully Broken)
There isn’t a lot to say, friends. The Amerks got shut out in their final contest against Toronto. The officiating was terrible, the Amerks defense looked like a sieve, and the Marlies looked like the second place team that they are.
Nazem Kadri scored the lone goal in Rochester’s 1-0 loss to the Marlies on Saturday night, as he continued his crusade to be one of the biggest thorns in Rochester’s side over the course of this weekend. I’ve been sitting here for two days (well, not literally, since I went to a concert on Sunday and I returned to my 9-to-5 with a serious case of the Mondays this week, but you get the point) trying to find something … anything, really, that would make me have something to say about this game. And I just sit here and struggle. Rochester tried. Kinda. They played hockey … kinda. They really looked like they weren’t even in the game. In doing so, they set themselves up for a leap into 10th place in the AHL Western Conference with Sunday’s games.
There are no excuses, although I’m sure a lot could be made. This game might not have gone any different if McNabb and Brennan were there, instead of in Toronto with the parent club. This was not a case of “holy crap, we lost to the backup?!” as Mark Owuya stepped in and up for the recalled Ben Scrivens. In 19 games this season, Owuya is 11-5-0-1 with a 1.94 GAA and a .929 SV%. Dude’s good, and had allowed only one goal in several of his wins. I don’t mean to say that Rochester didn’t stand a chance. Every game is a new game, but the odds were not necessarily in Rochester’s favor. And, should something not change for this club, their odds of making the playoffs will not be in their favor, either. I fear that, should Rochester finish in a position that they will face Toronto in the playoffs, it may not bode well for this Amerks club.
Game notes: After posting a 4 shot first period, Rochester did manage to put 27 SOG (4-12-11) to Toronto’s 29 (15-5-9 … The officiating was HORRIFIC. With the exception of off-set roughing penalties handed out to Turnbull and Mueller in the first half of the second period, Toronto did not get issued a penalty until 19:09 of the second, when Engel took a cross-checking penalty. Fortunately, Toronto was not able to capitalize on any of their five power plays. Rochester had two power plays over the course of the night … Rochester’s two newest players, Brian Flynn and Kyle Bailey, combined for six SOG over the course of the two Toronto matches, and Flynn assisted on Paul Szczechura’s second goal Friday night. Flynn, a native of Lynnfield, MA, comes to the Amerks via University of Maine, where he served as captain during his senior year, earning 48 points (18+30) in 40 games. Kyle Bailey, a 4th round (110 overall) draft pick of the Minnesota Wild, comes to the Amerks from the University of New Brunswick, where he totaled 153 points (65+88) in 138 games in five seasons. Both have been signed to ATOs through the end of this season, and Flynn has been signed to a one-year, entry-level contact that will begin next season.
Sunday afternoon, the Amerks began the arduous journey to Abbottsford, where they will take on the Heat in a Tuesday-Wednesday series to round out the season matchup. After splitting the first two games of the series in Rochester back in the beginning of February (including a 3-0 David Leggio shutout and a 3-2 OTL), the Amerks will look to gain four much-needed points against the Heat, who are fourth in the west. The Amerks are currently sitting in the tenth spot, two back of eighth place Peoria and ninth place Lake Erie. Rochester had two games-in-hand over Peoria and three on Lake Erie, but I’m very much hoping that this season will not need to come down to the decision between Rochester and Lake Erie on April 14. Just as a matter of fact, having played only 69 games, Rochester has at least one game in hand over every team ahead of the them EXCEPT 3rd place Chicago, who have also played 69, and fifth place Charlotte, who has played 68. As a second matter of fact, just in case you were all hot’n'bothered thinking that the NHL’s playoff races are tight – only four points separate fourth place and eleventh place in the AHL West. Rochester will continue their road travels with games in Hamilton and Adirondack on Friday and Saturday, finally returning home for their last two regular season home games on April 10th, against Grand Rapids, and Friday, April 13th, against Syracuse. Only two regular season home games left, lovelies. Let’s get our playoff push on and I’ll see you at the game!!