The goaltending woes of the 2011-12 Toronto Maple Leafs have had a trickle-down effect.
This season, the Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate is looking for consistency in the crease.
“He’s officially in a fight for the net,” Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins said of AHL starting netminder Ben Scrivens. Eakins was speaking to the Toronto Sun at the Marlies’ morning skate at Houston’s Toyota Center on Thursday. “We’re far enough into the season that everyone has their feet wet. We’re looking for wins now. We don’t want to fall too far out of this race.”
Scrivens backstopped the AHL’s Marlies to a Calder Cup final appearance in 2011-12 and won the league’s Hap Holmes Award for posting the stingiest goals-against average.
But this season the netminder — who signed a two-year, $1.225-million deal with the Maple Leafs in the offseason – has seen his GAA swell to 2.59. He has two victories in five starts for the 3-4-1 Marlies, last in the North Division.
Scrivens made the AHL record book by surrendering two goals within three seconds to the Abbotsford Heat last week. Both goals were shorthanded.
Rick St. Croix, the newly-appointed Leafs goalie coach, has accompanied the Marlies on their three-game Texas road trip.
“I think the goalies love it when their coach is in town,” Eakins told the Sun.“Rick can get really specific with them and we’ve had some long conversations with him as to where each of the three guys is at.”
Eakins will start Scrivens on Thursday and take it from there.
The Marlies’ No. 2 keeper, Jussi Rynnas, has a victory and a shootout loss in his two starts.
Third goaltender Mark Owuya, who could be headed to the East Coast Hockey League if the NHL lockout persists, gave up four goals in his only start.