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Marlies visit Syracuse before returning home for weekend action

March 21, 2007 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Toronto Marlies News Release

THE OPPONENTS:

SYRACUSE CRUNCH

The Marlies are in the Salt City for the penultimate time this season and visit the Syracuse Crunch - AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets - on Friday evening at the War Memorial at Oncenter. Toronto went 3-2 on their recent five game homestand and arrive in Central New York seeking their first road win since a 4-3 SO victory on January 21 at Chicago. The team has a record of 0-4-0-1 in their five road games that ensued following the win over the Wolves. Syracuse, 26-31-3-7, leads the Marlies by four points but trails fourth place Grand Rapids by 13 points in the chase for the North Division's final playoff spot. They return home following a 3-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs last Sunday evening at Montreal's Bell Centre. The Crunch's Steven Goertzen and Ryan Keller scored third period goals to help the visitors overcome a one goal deficit and record points in the standings for the third time in three days. The Marlies equaled their season high in winning consecutive games with last Saturday's 4-1 home win over Rochester. Martin Sagat scored twice in the third period en route to first star honours for the first time this season. The Marlies are 14-14-0-3 on the road this season, and have won one of two meetings in Syracuse. Friday's contest marks the first meeting between the clubs in New York since Crunch goaltender Tomas Popperle turned aside 41 shots in a 4-0 shutout victory on December 27. Former Syracuse forward Joe Motzko had two powerplay goals to pace the home side's attack. (LW) Joakim Lindstrom leads the Crunch in scoring with 41 points through 67 games (18g-23a= 41 pts) despite having appeared in only 46 of the team's games to date. His 18 goals also represent a team high. (G) Popperle has a record of 20-16-3, including four shutout wins, while maintaining a GAA of 2.84 and a team high 0.902 save percentage through 39 appearances with the club. Notables: The Crunch has recovered from an 0-3 deficit and sits tied with the Marlies at three wins apiece following six of the eight regular season contests this year. Syracuse became the third AHL team (Rochester, Portland) to score at least eight goals in one game against Toronto in winning 8-1 in the teams' last meeting on January 2 in Toronto. Seven visiting players recorded multi-point efforts as the Marlies set a franchise record for most penalty minutes in a game with 123. Erik Westrum had the lone Toronto marker. The Marlies had won three straight games in Syracuse before their loss in late December. The Crunch plays 11 of their next 12 games in New York state before concluding the season at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on April 15.

HAMILTON BULLDOGS

The Marlies attempt to win their fifth game against the Bulldogs - AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens - when their provincial rival visits Ricoh Coliseum for the third time this month on Saturday evening. The contest will mark the third in four nights for the Bulldogs, who return to Copps Coliseum for the first time in just under four weeks when they host Rochester on Wednesday night. They conclude their four game regular-season series with the Albany River Rats when the Carolina Hurricanes' affiliate visits on Friday. The Marlies snapped a two game losing streak against Hamilton when Colin Murphy scored at 3:23 of overtime on March 11 in the first of 21 all-time meetings to be decided in an OT session. They now sport a 4-4-0-1 record versus Hamilton this season, and have won more games against the Bulldogs than any other opponent. Hamilton, 37-23-3-4, leads the third place Amerks by one point in the race for second place and home ice advantage in the opening round of this year's Calder Cup playoffs. They recently completed a 10 game sojourn away from Copps Coliseum with a record of 4-3-1-2. Their most recent win, a 5-4 overtime victory at Syracuse, was highlighted by a four goal performance (including the OT winner) from rookie forward Matt D'Agostini. (RW) Duncan Milroy leads Hamilton in scoring with 54 points through 67 games (23g-31a= 54 pts). His 23 goals also represent a team high. (G) Yann Danis has a record of 18-12-3 while maintaining a GAA of 2.94 and a 0.903 save percentage through a team-high 34 appearances with the club this season. Notables: The Bulldogs' recent extended road trip was due to the City of Hamilton's hosting the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian Curling Championship at Copps. Toronto leads the all-time series with a record of 11-9-0-1 through 21 meetings. Each team has won once via the shootout with both of those contests having taken place in the Steel City. Toronto plays their sixth and final game of the campaign in Hamilton next Sunday afternoon before the Bulldogs return to Toronto to conclude the season series six days later.

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

The Marlies host what they hope will be a weary Grand Rapids Griffins' squad on Sunday evening as the Detroit affiliate concludes a three game Canadian road swing following Friday and Saturday night games in Winnipeg. Heading into week's play, the Griffins lead the Marlies by 17 points in the chase for the North Division's final playoff spot. Sunday's contest marks the teams' first of three meetings over the course of the league schedule's final three weeks. Toronto travels to Van Andel Arena on April 6 before hosting the Griffins in the regular season finale for both clubs on April 15 at Ricoh Coliseum. The Marlies sport a record of 2-3-0 after five of eight meetings this season but have been doubled-up by scores of 4-2 (October 13) and 2-1 (December 9) in the lone two contests in Ontario. The Griffins' Josh Langfeld scored the only third period tally at 2:45 of the final stanza to lift Grand Rapids to their one goal victory when last the teams met at Ricoh. The Marlies fell behind by a 3-0 count in the game's opening 14 minutes en route to a 6-3 defeat in the clubs' most recent encounter on January 27 in Michigan. Toronto's Erik Westrum recorded his 18th and 19th goals of the campaign in the setback. The loss was the Marlies first in three meetings at Van Andel Arena this season. Justin Pogge recorded his first professional victory, and his first professional shutout, in a 4-0 win on October 27. (C) Kip Miller leads the Griffins in scoring with 66 points through 67 games (24g-42a= 66 pts) and is one of only two players (Smith) to appear in each of the teams' games to date. (G) Jimmy Howard has a record of 18-16-2 while maintaining a GAA of 2.75 and a 0.908 save percentage through 39 appearances with the club. He has five shutout victories. Notables: The Griffins trail third place Rochester by four points heading into week's play. The Amerks have won two of their past four games but have been in the winner's circle on only three occasions dating to a 5-2 win at Syracuse on February 17. The teams split the eight game regular season series, although Rochester did emerge with a 4-3-1-0 edge. Marlies' captain Marc Moro scored his first goal with the team in the home side's 4-2 setback versus the Griffins in mid-October. Grand Rapids eliminated the Marlies in five games in last season's North Division Calder Cup Quarterfinals. Three of the five games were decided by one goal, all in favour of the Griffins.

CCM/VECTOR AHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE

For the week ending March 18th, 2007, the Toronto Marlies have nominated left wing Martin Sagat for the CCM/Vector AHL Player of the Week award. A Slovakia native, Sagat recorded points in each of the team's three games last week and had multi-point contests for the second and third times this season. He tallied two goals in Saturday's 4-1 win over Rochester and was recognized as the game's first star. With five points and a +5 ranking, Sagat increased his point total to 11 (three goals, eight assists) on the campaign. This week's award was ultimately won by Hershey's Kyle Wilson.

MARLIES IN THE COMMUNITY

Once again this season, the Marlies are embarking on their Safe Schools campaign to promote an anti-bullying message to young students across Toronto. On Tuesday, March 20th, Marlies' forward Brad Leeb appeared at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School (5820 Glen Erin Drive, Mississauga) to continue this season's school visits. Defenceman Jay Harrison signed autographs at Air Canada Centre's Gate 2 in advance of the Maple Leafs' 2-1 home win over New Jersey on Tuesday evening.

MARLIES ON THE WEB Follow the Marlies all season long on their official web site, torontomarlies.com

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS

Wednesday, March 14

Binghamton Senators defeat Toronto Marlies 7-4

Marlies Goals: Foster (2g), Earl (1g, 1a), Williams (PP)

Senators: Ebbett (2g, 1a), Komadoski (SH, 1a), Heerema (1g, 1a), Pecker (1g, 1a), Cook (1g, 1a) (GW), Bois (EN)

Shots on Goal: Marlies 28, Senators 26

Penalty Minutes: Marlies 12, Senators 24

Goaltender (saves): Marlies - Pogge (19 sv, 6 ga)

Senators - Glass (24 sv, 4 ga) Three Stars: (1) Andrew Ebbett, BNG (2) Alex Foster, TOR (3) Neil Komadoski, BNG Attendance: (2,554 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto)

Friday, March 16

Toronto Marlies defeat Houston Aeros 4-3

Marlies Goals: Sifers (PP), Mitchell (1g), Nash (1g, 1a), Harrington (PP, 1a) (GW)

Aeros Goals: Voros (1g), Irmen (1g), Pouliot (PP, 1a)

Shots on Goal: Marlies 34, Aeros 25

Penalty Minutes: Marlies 8, Aeros 16

Goaltender (saves): Marlies - Pogge (22 sv, 3 ga)

Aeros - Kochan (30 sv, 4 ga) Three Stars: (1) Alexander Suglobov, TOR (2) Tyson Nash, TOR (3) Benoit Pouliot, HOU Attendance: (2,868 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto)

Saturday, March 17

Toronto Marlies defeat Rocherster Americans 4-1

Marlies Goals: Engelhardt (1g, 1a), D'Amour (PP), Sagat (2g) (GW)

Amerks Goals: Meyer (PP)

Shots on Goal: Marlies 27, Amerks 32

Penalty Minutes: Marlies 12, Amerks 12

Goaltender (saves): Marlies - Pogge (27 sv, 1 ga)

Amerks - Berkhoel (28 sv, 4 ga) Three Stars: (1) Martin Sagat, TOR (2) Brett Engelhardt, TOR (3) Justin Pogge, TOR Attendance: (3,830 at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto)


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