Greg Scott scored the game winner late in the third period
Oct. 6: Marlies 3 vs. Hamilton 1 at Cobourg, Ont.

Marlies scorers: Ross, Scott, McKegg
Bulldogs scorers: MacAulay
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Forward lines:: Ashton-Colborne-Abbott, Kadri-Aucoin-Scott, McKegg-Ryan-Ross, Devane-Crescenzi-Brenner
Defence pairings: Gardiner-Kostka, Ranger-Blacker, Yeo-Gysbers
Goaltenders: Scrivens, Owuya (win)

Saturday was supposed to be the Leafs final game of the preseason. Jake Gardiner would have been on Toronto’s blueline. Ben Scrivens, if not the starting goalie, would have at least had a spot on the bench

Instead, with the NHL lockout in full swing, both players joined their Marlies teammates at Cobourg Community Centre to kick off Toronto’s AHL preseason. The sellout crowd of 2,300 was treated to a 3-1 Marlies victory over the Hamilton Bulldogs, the minor league affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens.

The most dangerous line of the night was the trio of Keith Aucoin centered by Nazem Kadri and Greg Scott. “There’s definitely some chemistry going on with Kadri and Aucoin,” said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins. “(Kadri) had a really good night. He was involved competitively as he always is, and Aucoin is showing us what he can do with that puck. It’s impressive.”

The effectiveness of the forward unit was most evident on the power-play. On one man advantage in the second period, the line hemmed the Bulldogs in their zone for the entire two minute penalty. Only the consistent shot blocking of Hamilton’s penalty killers’ – Gabriel Dumont in particular – prevented a Toronto goal. Not to be outdone, Scott was able to capitalize on a Toronto power-play late in regulation time, scoring the eventual game-winner.

Greg McKegg had the insurance marker into an empty net. Portland Winter Hawks’ graduate Brad Ross put the Marlies on the scoreboard with a deflection for Toronto’s first goal.

The game marked the return of defenceman Paul Ranger to professional hockey. Ranger last played as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning on October 22, 2009, leaving the game for personal reasons for nearly three years.

“I was a little nervous at the beginning, just to get back,” said Ranger. “But I think after the first shift the nerves were gone, and I was just back in hockey mode again.

“I just wanted to get my feet wet and play as well as I could. I think there were some mistakes that I made that I knew that I was doing them,” said Ranger, who left Hamilton’s Stephen MacAulay unguarded in front of Scrivens for the opening goal of the game in the first period. “But it was really, really good to just get on the ice and play in a real game against another team.”

The game’s three stars were: Scott, Mike Kostka, and Ross.

The Marlies play the Bulldogs again on Monday in Brantford.

Game Notes: Jamie Devane had the Marlies’ first fight of the preseason, winning a bout over the Bulldogs’ Kyle Hagel…Ben Scrivens and Mark Owuya each played half the game. Owuya was the goalie of record as he was between the pipes when Scott scored the winning goal…Cobourg mayor Gill Brocanier addressed the crowd before the game, but received more than a few boos after making an ill-advised attempt at humour regarding Kadri’s weight. Eakins refused comment on the remark, while Kadri was unavailable to the media after the game.

Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at

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