Earlier this week after watching the Marlies, I said there would be some good games….and some rough games.
Last night at the Ricoh Coliseum it was a combination of both worlds.
The Grand Rapids Griffins sporting their junk record of 1-5 came into the game with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.
Without question Coach Sheldon Keefe was not pleased with the group effort in the last game and it didn’t take long to see results of his instructions on the day off in between starts.
Marlies Rookie, William Nylander opened the scoring with his first of two on a solid pass from Richard Panik. Panik had 4 assists on Wednesday night and skated very well the entire game. Other Marlies goals came from Ryan Rupert, Josh Leivo, TJ Brennan and Brendan Leipsic. Rookie Rinat Valiev had his first point as a Professional on the Brendan Leipsic goal.
The Marlies jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the end of the second period and dominated chances but not shot totals. This is where Keefe will implore the youthful Marlies team to pay more attention to details. Garret Sparks shutout attempt was foiled early in the third period during a Griffins powerplay, and the only shot that would beat him on the evening. Sparks did an excellent job seeing the puck and pounced on rebounds when they occurred. During a scramble in the second period he made 3 saves in a row from the doorstep of his crease that had the sparse crowd buzzing on this Halloween Eve. Sparks went on to stop 38 of 39 shots on his way to the 3rd star of the game. (Panik and Brennan the other two). Quite honestly, while the other two were very good, Sparks deserved to the the Star of the game. I assume Bibeau will get the start in the next start in Albany on Sunday but it would be interesting to see what happens if one goalie can ride a hot streak.
At the end of the game, things got out of control. During a scrum that involved Sam Carrick and Tyler Bertuzzi the linesmen managed to separate Carrick from the pack which left noted tough guy Kasperi Kapanen alone with Bertuzzi. Any person at that level knows who they are standing with, however this didn’t stop Bertuzzi from punching Kapanen no less than four times (glove on). Kapanen no response just kept ducking his head and eating the punches. All of this occurred no less than fifteen feet away from the referee for the game who really did nothing to dissuade this from continuing further.
Then it happened. Bertuzzi pulls a Racki from Youngblood move on Kapanen by kicking his feet out with the dirtiest slew foot I have seen in a long time!! Kapanen goes down on his upper back and shoulders and has a tough time getting up. Racki, er….Bertuzzi is given a match penalty with a few others tacked on and removed from the game.
I can guarantee there will be a payback for that one. Lets not hype it up, let it happen. Paging Justin Johnson.
Huge win for the Marlies and Garret Sparks, who now vacate the Ricoh until the 21st of November so my horse has somewhere to play in the dirt at the Royal Winter Fair. When the Marlies return it will be in front of some of our very loyal followers at the Leafs Hub Summit, Part 2.
Play well young Marlies, the city is soon to be watching because you are the best ticket in town.
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