Marlies Clinch North Division Title
April 2, 2008
Toronto increases home win streak to six; clinch North Division crown
(TORONTO) – The Toronto Marlies blanked the Grand Rapids Griffins 2-0 in front of 2,220 fans at Ricoh Coliseum Wednesday night. With the win the Marlies clinched the North Division title for the first time in franchise history. The first goal of the game, scored by Bates Battaglia, stood as the game-winner. Toronto starting goaltender Justin Pogge earned his fourth shutout of the season, setting a new Marlies record for most shutouts in a season.
Battaglia opened the scoring at 11:38 of the first period. Robbie Earl collected the puck at the side boards and sent it to Battaglia, who was in the slot. Battaglia then rifled a shot over the glove of Grand Rapids starting goaltender Adam Berkhoel. Jaime Sifers earned an assist on the play.
Early in the second period Grand Rapids forward Evan McGrath gained a breakaway on Toronto starting goaltender Justin Pogge. McGrath tried to deke around Pogge, but the Toronto goalie shut the door to preserve a 1-0 lead for the Marlies.
The Marlies took a 2-0 lead over the Griffins when Tyler Doig scored at 8:10 of the final frame. Berkhoel made the initial save on Alex Foster’s shot, but a sprawling Doig chipped the puck over the right shoulder of Berkhoel. Defenceman Patrick Wellar also tallied a helper on the play.
Grand Rapids head coach Mike Stothers pulled Berkhoel for most of the final two minutes of regulation. Even with the extra skater the Griffins were unable to put the puck past Pogge.
The Marlies head to Winnipeg to take on the Manitoba Moose – AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks – for a pair of games on Friday, April 4 and Saturday, April 5. The Marlies return to Toronto to host the Chicago Wolves – AHL affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers – on Wednesday, April 9. Face-off for the midweek tilt at Ricoh Coliseum is 7:30 p.m.
ICE CHIPS: Robbie Earl has earned seven points (one goal, six assists) in three games… Bates Battaglia has tallied a goal in three consecutive games… Justin Pogge increased his franchise-record win total to 25, bringing his overall record to 25-9-4.
1. TOR B. Battaglia (12) (Earl, Sifers) 11:38
2. TOR T. Doig (4) (Foster, Wellar) 8:10
TOR 19 GRA 24
1. B. Battaglia #33 -- TOR
2. J. Pogge #1 -- TOR
3. J. Sifers #26 -- TOR