HAMILTON - Drew MacIntyre made 32 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Toronto Marlies defeated the Hamilton Bulldogs 2-0 in the American Hockey League on Friday. Greg McKegg and Jerry DAmigo had goals for the Marlies (24-12-4), who have won six of their past eight games. Dustin Tokarski stopped 20 shots for the Bulldogs (19-17-4). Fridays game got off to a frantic start, with Hamiltons Christian Thomas enjoying two quality scoring chances before Torontos Brad Staubitz drove wide on Jarrod Tinordi and slipped a shot just wide of Tokarskis far post. The clearest opportunity fell to Sven Andrighetto five minutes into the first period, as he split the Toronto defence and broke in alone on MacIntyre. The winger moved to his backhand and was stopped by a sliding MacIntyre, but drew a penalty in the process. The goaltenders judgement served him well with four minutes to play in the period, as he rushed out of his crease to snuff out a developing break. Joonas Nattinen emerged from the penalty box and collected a loose puck behind Torontos defenders, but MacIntyre successfully challenged him just inside his blue-line. The Bulldogs were left to rue their missed opportunities when McKegg opened the scoring for Toronto on the power play at 18:20 of the period. McKegg took an initial shot from the blue-line and followed the ensuing scrum into the slot with Martin St. Pierre serving a tripping penalty. Wade MacLeod eventually found him with a cross-ice pass that he quickly deposited past Tokarski. The fast-paced first period gave way to a more defensive second, as the Marlies comfortably protected their lead. Toronto scored a short-handed insurance goal as DAmigo spearheaded a solo rush at 15:45 of the period. The Marlies winger was tripped as he broke through the slot, but kept enough control to slide the puck past Tokarski, who was diving to his far post. Hamilton outshot Toronto 24-18 through forty minutes, but rarely tested MacIntyre in the subdued second period. The Bulldogs nearly broke MacIntyres shutout bid eight minutes into the third period, as Mike Blunden and Gabriel Dumont whacked at a loose puck in the low slot. But the goaltender reacted well to deny the attempts through a screen and smother the puck. Hamilton was 0-for-7 on the power play, while Toronto converted on one of five power-play opportunities. Notes: Attendance at Copps Coliseum was announced as 9,983 … Brandon Kozun played his first game for the Marlies since being traded to Toronto by the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. Derek Newton Jersey
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.C. -- Ryan Sproul scored the winner late in double overtime to lift the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 2-1 win over the Abbotsford Heat on Friday in Game 1 of their American Hockey League playoff series.The Barclays Premier League season is officially halfway through. No exaggeration, the season has been great thus far. A more unpredictable Premier League is better viewing. Competition at the top and bottom of the table remains fierce and ever-changing. League leaders Arsenal are on pace for 84 points. Fewer than 84 points has only won the league once in the last decade. The word parity is thrown around, and its not entirely accurate. Top teams are beginning to hit their stride, although every team continues to show flaws, making for a topsy-turvy table. There has been no shortage of talking points through 19 games. Before we get to our mid-season awards, lets go all High Fidelity. Here are the top five storylines at the halfway mark. 5) Methodical Mourinho: You love to love him and love to hate him. Its all more compelling with Jose Mourinho in the Premier League. Inspiring, entertaining football however from has been few and far between from his Chelsea team. Mourinho is Exhibit A in over-managing. His meticulous approach leads to a dull end product more times than not. Chelsea has been clinically stifling at times against top competition, in particular stuffing out matches against Arsenal and Manchester United. Free flowing football has been sacrificed to climb the table. Although its surprising a team with the financial wherewithal and talent of Chelsea need to resort to such mind-numbing tactics at times, Mourinho understands its what needs to be done until he can get his players at the club. Its been a Masterclass job thus far; Mourinhos teams are among the most consistent and competitive week to week. While team performance has been predictable, the notable persona of the Portuguese has not. Mourinho 2.0 has overall been more subdued than his previous tenure. The trademark arrogance and gamesmanship however remain omnipresent. Mourinhos leap into the Stamford Bridge crowd, sitting amongst the supporters after being sent to the stands, and interrupting post-match interviews are few examples the Mourinho of yester year is not far from the surface. As Chelsea close in on the top of the table, Chelseas tactics will become more dry and Mourinhos personality more rebellious. We all win with the latter. 4) Managerial Merry-go-round: Five managers were fired in the 2012/13 season. There have been six casualties already this campaign. Paolo Di Canio (Sunderand), Ian Holloway (Crystal Palace), Martin Jol (Fulham), Steve Clarke (West Brom), Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham), and Malky Mackay (Cardiff City) are all no longer with their respective sides. The biggest shock has to be AVB. The young Portuguese is now a two-time Premier League failure. Its a massive let-down for a perceived tactically superior young mind in the game not being able to relate with the modern player, isolating individuals within the team and not getting the most out of the players at his disposal. Losing Gareth Bale was a blow for Spurs. But the finances spent and the talent on hand is capable of much more. AVB as a man manager will rightfully be questioned in his next gig. The unlucky loser of the unemployed bunch is Mackay. Playing a public chess match with tumultuous Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan was never going to be a battle won. When an owner operates on an island without rhyme and reason, the environment becomes poisoned and stability goes out the window. Mackay leaves with his head held high, despite his big money swing and a miss of striker Andreas Cornelius. Di Canio gets the nod for most warranted sacking. Who in their right mind would think 11 new players; most of marginal talent, at the Stadium of Light would be a recipe for success? And the audacity to stand before the travelling Sunderland supporters after a 3-0 loss at the Hawthorns provided pictures that will go down in infamy. 3) Golden Gunners: Arsene Wengers demise was widely predicted after a 3-1 home loss to Aston Villa to start the season. After the opening day loss, Arsenal reeled off a streak of 12 straight undefeated in all competitions, signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, and brought Mathieu Flamini back to the Emirates. Meanwhile, talent became realized for Welshman Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud showed his worth as a Premier League talisman and a resurgent backline has developed into one of, if not, the best defensive unit in the league. So much for Wenger losing the plot. Arsenal sits atop the table and on top form despite losing Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as long-term absentees. You know things are rolling when goalkeeping is even top notch at the Emirates. The coming of age of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has provided much needed stability. Is this Arsenal team good enough to be Champions? The starting XI is virtually set. January depth moves can be made up front and at the back. But it will inevitably be up to the current crop. They are a strong group. But are they capable of taking their game to the next level? 2) Sizzling Suarez: Its incredible what can change in a matter of four months. Luis Suarez has gone from a biting, erratic misfit to the most consistent performer and producer in the league. Suarez has more goals than seven Premier League teams, and his 19 are equal to the tally of Fulham. And all this has all come in just 14 gammes.dddddddddddd Incredible. The Uruguayan also has five assists, making it sound bizarre to suggest his stats alone doesnt tell the entire story. He is a true game-breaker in a time where players of that dimension are rare. A constant threat, remarkable touch on the ball and extraordinary movement off it, Suarez has evolved into one of the worlds best. Liverpool has broken the bank to sign Suarez to a new mega contract. Ironically enough, it may be his own influence that determines whether he actually sees that contract out on the Merseyside. Its Champions League or bust. Suarez is key. 1) The noise about Moyes: Its the most talked about story and will continue to be. The start of the David Moyes era at Old Trafford has been shaky at best. But there are signs the team is turning the corner. While still lacking true top end talents en masse, the team as unit is playing much better football. Unfair to Moyes, a transition period within the team hit at the same time as the managerial change. This is no fault of Moyes. And to suggest it could all be remedied in his first transfer window was naïve. That doesnt excuse his panic purchase of Marouane Fellaini or the all too cautious approach in team selection/tactics to open the season. Manchester United is in the midst of a squad evolution. The process will continue in January. The knee-jerk, have-it-now nature of sport demands swift change. Moyes will get blamed or praised for whatever happens in the transfer windows. But this is more of a test to the Glazer ownership. Sponsorship acquisition has come fast and furious. The player side continues to lag behind, not moving in accordance with the clubs commercial growth. In the meantime, United on the field will have to continue to be their scrappy best. Theres something truly likeable about an underdog United team. Its been years since theyve been in such a role. Champions League qualification and lengthy runs in Cup competitions would be seen as a successful year. Next year, the stakes will be much higher. Mid-season Awards Top Player: Suarez (Liverpool) – Honourable mentions to Sergio Aguero, Aaron Ramsey and Wayne Rooney. But Suarez is the clear choice. Manager: Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool) – Year number two at Liverpool has exceeded expectations. The manager bemoans his lack of squad depth, and rightfully so. Yet his team, no matter the change in formation or personnel has managed to play an increasing prominent passing game with the ability to adapt in shape and approach appropriately to the occasion. The man deserves a lot of credit. Belief is back at Anfield. Best Goal: Pajtim Kasami (Fulham) vs. Crystal Palace – An ultimate team goal by Arsenal and Jack Wilshere was trumped later the same weekend by an all-time strike from Kasami. A run on full trot from the middle of the park, controlling with the chest and volley top corner on the run from a ridiculous angle at the top corner of the box wins it. Hands down. End of story. Memorable Moment: Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) goal vs. Southampton – It took just 12 seconds for the goalkeeper to score the shock goal of the season. The story goes it was a windy day, Begovic launched the ball from inside his own box, the ball landed between two Southampton centre-backs, Artur Boruc misjudged the big bounce and embarrassment ensued. Perhaps the most shocking variable was the goal made Begovic joint top goal scorer for Stoke at that time on the season. And the goal was scored in November, Surprise player: Seamus Coleman (Everton) – Roberto Martinez has struck gold with the Irish right back. His defensive play has been standout for one of the most dependable backlines in the league. Coleman has added five goals to his account. Thats more goals than he has scored in his Premier League career, one more than Christian Benteke and just one less than all of Chelseas strikers have scored combined. Surprise team: Hull City – many, including myself pegged the Tigers to go straight back to the League Championship. Instead, Hull sits 10th at the halfway point. They have beat Liverpool and Newcastle, were robbed against Spurs, and gave the two Manchester clubs a scare. This has all come from a team without top talent, a manager with a track record of Premier League failure, and a team garnering more attention for a potential name change than anything on the field. This is the feel good story of the league. Team Performance: Manchester City vs. Manchester United – Its one thing to win by a converted touchdown over Norwich City. Its another thing to run your neighbours and reigning Champions off the field in extraordinary fashion. The 4-1 final flattered United. It was truly a performance for the ages. Worst Owner: Vincent Tan (Cardiff City) – Mike Ashley is dethroned by a man who 1) changed the teams historic colours to the chagrin of club supporters, 2) fired his chief scout and hired his sons unqualified friend, 3) fired the popular coach, 4) has thrown the clubs reputation into disrepute. Not bad work for just four months. Well see how much further he goes, and how much higher his pants get in the New Year. Best XI: De GeaColeman-Jagielka-Mertesacker-SantonRamsey-Toure-HazardRooney-Suarez-Aguero Cheap Stitched Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China Discount Jerseys Wholesale NFL Hoodies Cheap NFL Womens Jerseys China Jerseys Cheap Wholesale Throwback Jerseys
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