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Posted by jinpan1234 on April 29, 2014, 12:33 am
TORONTO -- Toronto Marlies coach Steve Spott challenged his leadership group following an embarrassing 4-3 loss Saturday afternoon to the Rochester Americans. The Marlies responded Sunday, as Sam Carrick led the way with two goals in a 3-2 win over the Utica Comets that clinched Torontos third straight North Division title. "I think if its necessary, we can take the criticism, we can live with that," said alternate captain Korbinian Holzer. "I think thats part of the business. Im fine with it. Were all grown ups." Kenny Ryan had the other goal for the Marlies (42-22-6). Rookie defenceman Eric Knodel picked up his first two AHL points. Garret Sparks made 23 saves for his 10th win of the season, helping ensure the Marlies will finish no lower than the third seed in the Western Conference. Toronto became just the sixth team in history to clinch a division title in three consecutive years. "Im very proud of our whole staff," Spott said. "All of my support staff, the coaches, obviously Piero (Greco) our goaltending coach, our trainers, our equipment people. Everybodys worked so hard. "Not a lot of people gave our hockey club much of an opportunity to make to even make the playoffs, nonetheless win the division. Very proud of our group." With goaltender Joe Cannata pulled for an extra attacker, Cal OReilly got Utica to within one with 43.5 seconds remaining. But Toronto held on for the win this time. On Saturday, Toronto allowed two goals in a 15 second span during the final minute of play to fall to the Rochester Americans 4-3. Pascall Pelletier had the other goal for Utica (31-30-9) while Cannata made 33 saves in the loss. The win helped Toronto avoid losing its third straight for just the second time this season. The Marlies improve to 3-2-0 in the season series with one game remaining between the two clubs. "We know when we dont have our best game," said Holzer. "Its about us pulling the group together, keeping everybody accountable and I think the whole team did a good job today. We responded to the last two (losses) especially defensively, we did a better job." With Comets forward Alexandre Grenier in the box serving a double-minor for high sticking, Carrick scored on the rebound off a Knodel point shot for his 10th goal of the season, giving Toronto a 3-1 lead at 7:40 of the third. The Marlies scored twice on their first three shots of the game. Carrick opened the scoring at 3:06 getting a couple of chances at his own rebound before beating Cannata for his ninth of the season. With his assist on the goal, Knodel picked up his first career AHL point. Ryan made it 2-0 backhanding a shot over the shoulder of Cannata at 4:49. The Comets got on the board at 16:59 of the second period, on a power play, as Pelletier put a Brandon DeFazio feed past a sprawling Sparks for his 18th of the season. Utica is five points back of Rochester for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Toronto sets out on their final road trip of the season -- a five-game, eight-day trip beginning Friday in Rochester, N.Y. The Marlies and Comets play for a sixth and final time this season on April 18 in Utica, N.Y. Notes: Goaltender Drew MacIntyre, who was with the Maple Leafs on emergency recall, was reassigned to the Marlies Sunday morning. MacIntyre was a healthy scratch as Christopher Gibson backed-up Sparks. Marlies forward Fabrice Herzog made his professional debut on a line with Carter Ashton and Greg McKegg while defenceman Zach Yuen made his AHL debut paired with T.J. Brennan. [url=http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Tomas-Hertl-Jersey/]http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Tomas-Hertl-Jersey/[/url] . -- If Yu Darvish is feeling any pressure after leading the majors in strikeouts last season, it isnt showing. [url=http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Brent-Burns-Jersey/]http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Brent-Burns-Jersey/[/url] . He couldnt survive the loss of Peyton Manning. Caldwell became the Colts third high-profile dismissal in an off-season purge, getting fired Tuesday after producing the franchises worst record in two decades. http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Antti-Niemi-Jersey/. ˇ°Its happened more and more lately because were obviously at a bit of a turning point right now,ˇ± Jay McClement told the Leaf Report, one-third of an assigned leadership group in Toronto that includes Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul. [url=http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Patrick-Marleau-Jersey/]http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Patrick-Marleau-Jersey/[/url] . Monday was the best day yet, the Vancouver Canucks forward said after a scrimmage in preparation for the Boston Bruins in Wednesdays opening game of the Stanley Cup final. [url=http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Joe-Thornton-Jersey/]http://www.hockeysharksshop.com/Black-Joe-Thornton-Jersey/[/url] . The Ottawa Gee Gees quarterback heard precious little from the Stampeders before the CFL Canadian college draft.No one is suggesting the NHL is considering relocating an existing franchise to Saskatoon. But it is fair to say there have been expressions of interest from parties in the prairie city to purchase, relocate and house an NHL franchise in Saskatoons Credit Union Centre. Obviously, if the NHL is faced with relocating another franchise -- those options may have to be legitimately explored in the coming weeks or months with regards to the long-term future of the Phoenix Coyotes -- the most logical landing-spot candidates are Seattle, Quebec City, Kansas City and perhaps Las Vegas. But interested parties in Saskatoon have contacted the league and suggested there are individuals or parties in Saskatoon who would be willing to ante up the required purchase fee while various levels of government in Saskatchewan would make necessary arrangements to expand and make NHL-suitable the 15,800-seat Credit Union Centre. Even though Saskatoons actual population is around 250,000 -- which at face value would seem to be far too small to support an NHL franchise -- the Saskatoon interests are pitching that an NHL franchise there would be supported by the entire province and it would be a viable operation. In 1983, the St. Louis Blues almost moved to Saskatoon. Then-owner Ralston Purina were going to sell the franchise to Bill Hunter, who was going to relocate it to Saskatoon. The league blocked the move, took the franchiise over when Ralston Purina effectively abandoned it and sold it to Harry Ornest, who kept the team alive in St.dddddddddddd Louis. Meanwhile, the NHL continues to focus on negotiations with three groups who have expressed varying degrees of interest in buying the Coyotes from the NHL and working out a deal with the City of Glendale to keep the franchise there long-term. But if those negotiations dont progress in the coming weeks, its believed the NHL willl have no other option but to begin pursuing a parallel track to look at its relocation options while still trying to make the Phoenix scenario work. Either way, one would assume by the end of the NHL regular season -- in mid-April -- the league will need to know whether its staying in Phoenix for another year or relocating the franchise. Conventional wisdom is the league cant wait as long as it did last spring when Atlanta was relocated to Winnipeg in a process that started in late April and was consummated in late May. Ownership group True North in Winnipeg had an existing infrastructure in place that permitted a relatively smooth transition at such a late date. But as interested as parties may now be in Seattle and Quebec, for example, none are as fully developed or operationally sound as True North was. In the meantime, the short-term focus of the league is entirely on trying to nail down a completed agreement to purchase in Phoenix. ' ' '

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