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Monday, 30 December 2013

Breaking In Comerica

Like any good big brother, the NHL sent the AHL into Comerica Park first to test out the ice in case it cracked and swallowed a player or three. In all seriousness, the AHL hit the ice at the home of the Detroit Tigers, and a pretty good game was played out between the visiting Toronto Marlies and the Grand Rapids Griffins. Both teams looked great in their uniforms, and we even got to see an official skills competition at the end. All in all, it was a good day for the AHL in their second outdoor game this season.

The Toronto Marlies actually hit the AHL record books in becoming the first AHL team to win two outdoor contests with their 4-3 shootout victory over the Griffins this evening. They previous defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs at Ivor Wynne Stadium in 2012, so the Marlies might want to remain as the road team for any future outdoor games. Two-for-two is a good record in these games!

Toronto jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:10 into the game after Kevin Marshall beat Tom McCollom for his first of the season. Xavier Ouellet drew the Griffins even at 7:20 while the teams skated four-on-four with his second goal of the season, but the Marlies would take the one-goal lead into the intermission as Carter Ashton found the back of the net with his ninth goal of the season with two minutes to play in the period. Needless to say, it was a pretty entertaining first period!

Grand Rapids carried the play in the second period, and it paid off for former University of Michigan Wolverine Luke Glendening. Glendening was re-assigned to Grand Rapids from Detroit on Sunday, and he took advantage of the opportunity by scoring his fourth goal at 11:22 of the second period, and then victimized Drew MacIntyre once more with his fifth goal 16:18 to put the Griffins up 3-2 as they closed out forty minutes in style.

Toronto needed at least one goal as they broke out the intermission, and they found it early as Michigan native Kenny Ryan scored his second goal of the season at 2:22 of the third period - lots of twos in that last stat! Ryan's goal would stand as the equalizer through the end of the third period and the overtime period, so that means we get to see a shootout!

Just as a note, of the seven outdoor games in AHL history, six have been decided by one goal and five required overtime. Basically, if you go to an AHL game outdoors, bundle up for four periods of action. Free hockey is always better when you're warm!

Teemu Pulkkinen broke in on Toronto's MacIntyre, but was denied.
Spencer Abbott kicked things off for Toronto, and he beat McCollom.
Riley Sheahan wanted the equalizer, but MacIntyre said no.
Sam Carrick looked to increase Toronto's lead, but was turned aside.
Calle Jarnkrok dipsy-doodled, but MacIntyre denied his attempt.
Greg McKegg broke in for Toronto, beating McCollom for a 2-0 lead.
Andrej Nestrasil needed to score, but MacIntyre turned him away.

So there are the results of the game, but what did this game look like? Let's start with the Toronto Marlies who were the visiting team on the scoreboard.

Honestly, these uniforms are pretty darn nice. I love the rich blue color that is contrasted by the crisp white, and the historical aspect of the uniform is solid. The AC crown from the Toronto Marlboros uniform is currently used on the Marlies' current alternate, and it looks fantastic on this uniform as well. While the striping is a mix between old and new templates, I think the overall look works for the AHL and, specifically, the Marlies. The blue-on-white-on-blue numbers looks pretty solid, and the simple white block lettering makes names on the back easy to read. Overall, I like this uniform. It's GOOD.

The Griffins look a lot like the Detroit Red Wings, and that's fine. They've done this before. The Griffins clearly took the vintage Detroit look and applied it to their own template. The result? Pretty good as well. I'm not a fan of the numbers on the upper-right of the uniform, but this jersey is clean, crisp, and looks great. Chalk this one up to a GOOD as well.

Overall, a pretty solid night at the ballpark. There were goals, some great saves, free hockey, and a short skills competition with the shootout. While the home team went home with just a point, 20,337 fans went home happy with the action on the ice. And isn't that why we came out? Well done to both the Griffins and Marlies, and congratulations on the great game!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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