AHL game night
I'm going to be spending a rare night at Ricoh Coliseum tonight, taking in the AHL game between the Toronto Marlies and Iowa Stars. Both of the NHL parent clubs have run into some rather serious injury problems, especially at forward, and these are two pretty mediocre minor-league clubs — both of whom are on the bubble in the playoff picture.
Iowa is currently without a few of its top forwards, including leading scorer, Joel Lundqvist, the twin brother of Rangers' netminder Henrik. The Marlies meanwhile, are missing Kris Newbury and Boyd Devereaux, who have both done well in their brief NHL auditions.
Who does that leave to watch? On the Toronto side, I'm expecting to see Justin Pogge in goal and prospects like Robbie Earl and Staffan Kronwall. The team's leading scorer is Erik Westrum, who led the AHL in scoring last season with the Houston Aeros but hasn't had a sniff of the big leagues this season.
The AHL Stars are lacking in high-end prospects, and the undrafted Junior Lessard and 2004 first-rounder Mark Fistric will be the players of interest here (which doesn't seem to bode well for Dallas's future).
Down the street, the Maple Leafs are hosting the Buffalo Sabres — although the price point for that game is just a wee bit higher than the one I'll be taking in.
UPDATE It was a sleepy game in a sleepy rink half full with more than a few hardcore AHL fans. In that sense, I think it was pretty typical of most Marlies' games (although I wouldn't know, having only seen a handful of them in my time in Toronto). Here's the league's abbreviated game recap:
Rookie netminder Steve Silverthorn refuses to let up a goal, stopping all 24 shots faced in Iowa’s 3-0 win at Toronto for his second shutout in as many nights and in just his second AHL start. Silverthorn has kept opponents scoreless for the last 120 minutes of play and stopped a total of 56 shots in his first two starts since joining the Stars.The undrafted Silverthorn was the star, in a sense, which is impressive in itself given he's an undrafted netminder having just made the leap from the ECHL to the AHL this week. Neither team generated a ton of scoring chances tonight, which played a part in the fact that my party decided to jump ship midway through the third period to take in the end of the Maple Leafs game at a nearby watering hole.
Altogether we saw two Toronto hockey teams lose on the night, which isn't as rare an occurrence as you might think.