Dec. 21: Marlies 4 vs. San Antonio 1
Forward lines:: Hamilton–Aucoin–Abbott, Ashton–Colborne–Frattin, D’Amigo–Acton–Scott, Ross–Ryan–Deschamps, McKegg
Defence pairings: Fraser-Holzer, Ranger-Kostka, Gysbers
Goaltenders: Scrivens (Win 60:00 minutes played, 30 SV, 1 GA), Rynnas (0:00)
Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton scored the 75th goal of his career, making him the franchise’s all-time leading goal scorer as Toronto defeated San Antonio 4-1 on Friday night.
The 27-year-old Oshawa native certainly made his milestone goal impressive. On the play, Hamilton received a breakout pass from Spencer Abbott and took advantage of a breakaway opportunity when Rampage defenceman Nolan Yonkman fell down. Hamilton capped off the play with a backhand to forehand deke of goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
“I was hoping that (Abbott) would lay a puck in there, because I was hoping that maybe I could get a jump on the (defenceman),” said Hamilton. “When you’re kind of in close like that, you just kind of react. Fortunately I was able to put it in there. Getting a record like that is pretty cool, I just think about all my teammates, the guys that I’m playing with now, and in the past. That’s what I’m going to remember most.”
The goal gives Hamilton a team-leading 11 markers on the year. The captain entered the game tied with former Leafs/Marlies player Jeremy Williams atop the all-time goal list.
Before playing almost a full season in 2011-12, Hamilton had missed a combined 68 games the previous two years. The recovery from setbacks has not been lost on coach Dallas Eakins. “Hamilton is a guy that has worked so hard for everything that he’s ever got,” said Eakins. “He’s had a couple of tough years in the past with injuries and battled through that. He’s a kid that – if you’re going to raise your children – his parents have done an amazing job, and I can only hope that my daughters grow up and have as much character as he has.”
Carter Ashton ended a personal seven-game goal-scoring drought, while the Marlies got a pair of goals from the blueline with Mike Kostka and Paul Ranger finding the net. Injuries to Jake Gardiner, Jesse Blacker and Dylan Yeo forced the team to play only five defencemen. “It means a little more ice time which I like,” said Kostka of the adjusmtent. “Obviously you hope everyone’s in the lineup. Any of those guys can help the team, but when they’re not in the lineup and there’s 5 d, then I don’t mind one bit.”
Kostka’s goal extended a personal seven-game point-scoring streak, matching an identical stretch he registered from November 9-22. Both marks are season highs for the team.
The Marlies face the St. John’s Ice Caps this afternoon in their final game before Christmas.
Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca
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