Leafs ‘Holden’ on in Play-off Race

By Kevin Kelly

Leafs “Holden” on in Playoff Race: Ponikarovsky
withdraws from AHL All Star Game due to injury

The St. John’s Maple Leafs started and ended on a high
note as the Leafs jumped to a 3-0 lead and held on to
win in overtime as the Leafs defeated the Lowell (or
could it be Lowly?) Lock Monsters 4-3.

Josh Holden’s overtime marker at 3:45 (his 14th of the
season) was the difference as the Leafs wiped a little
sweat off the brow earning two points, when it looked
like at times that they wouldn’t get one.

Holden told Hockey’s Future that it was an important
win. “We knew coming in it was a game that we needed
points, because the last home game we had (a 4-1 loss
to Saint John) we stunk the joint out and we needed to
battle back from that and fortunately enough, the
glaring mistakes we had letting them get back in it
didn’t cost us the game.” Mikael Tellqvist earned
second star honours making 35 saves and Anders
Eriksson added a pair of assists. Brad Boyes and Chris
Chartier continued their point streaks at 3 games a
piece as they added an assist each.

The Leafs rolled a lucky seven in the first period, as
Morgan Warren, Doug Doull and Allan Rourke all scored
their seventh goals of the season, and the game seemed
to be in control for the Blue and White. Alas, the
Lock Monsters persevered with three unanswered goals
in the second and third of their own as Mike Watt (his
6th), Brent McDonald (his 7th) and Damian Surma (his
10th) to make the game much more interesting. The
Leafs (16-29-5-1) battle the Lock Monsters (13-33-4-2)
again tonight.

Leaf game notes:

Leaf goals:

Morgan Warren’s 7th from Luca Cereda and Anders
Eriksson at 14:08 of the 1st.

Doug Doull’s 7th of the season from Dwayne Hay and
Nathan Barrett at 17:58 of the 1st.

Allan Rourke’s 7th from Brad Boyes and Chris Chartier
at 18:54 of the 1st.

Josh Holden’s 14th at 3:45 of OT from Anders Eriksson
and Regan Kelly.

Lowell goals: Mike Watt, Brent McDonald, Damian Surma.

Goaltending: Leafs, Tellqvist (W, 8-18-3) 38 shots, 35
saves; Lowell, DesRochers (L, 5-11-2) 37 shots, 33
saves.

Leafs notes

Goaltender Jamie Hodson has been asked to go to Sweden
later this month to once again represent Canada to
play the Swedish games, a tournament similar to the
Spengler Cup that Hodson had participated earlier this
year. (Hodson says about 10 to 12 players from the
Spengler Team will be on this team). Teams from
Canada, Russia, Finland and Sweden will participate.
His fellow goalie will be Joaquin Gage, who had worked
with the Oilers organization a number of years ago.
“It’s going to be a great experience and I’m really
looking forward to it.” As for being the new #2 goalie
in St. John’s, Hodson told Hockey’s Future,
“I’m very happy to be here. I’m going to continue to
be working hard and show the coaches and management
that I want to stay here. When I get the chance to
play, I’m going to make the most of it and try to keep
confident.” As for the goaltender replaced, Sebastien
Centomo, local media reported he was “heartbroken” to
be leaving St. John’s and took the demotion hard. The
signs though of Centomo’s demise were there however
for fans who looked closer.
During Rogers Sportsnet coverage of a Hamilton-St.
John’s game (a big loss) last December, Lou Crawford
was seen berating Centomo from the bench for shooting
the puck over the glass and wandering outside his net.
Then when a backup was needed to Mikael Tellqvist in
Toronto with injuries to Belfour and Kidd, the call
was made to Hodson, not Centomo, who had played in the
NHL once before the season previous.
This tournament appearance by Hodson, however, will
once again make the goaltending situation interesting.
Will Centomo, seemingly on the outs with the coaching
staff, return as backup when Hodson goes to this
tournament? Or will the Leafs go deeper in the
organization, say to Jean Francois Racine and perhaps
give him a shot? Don’t be surprised to see the latter
the way this season has gone.

Alexei Ponikarovsky has told the AHL that due to a
wrist injury, he won’t be able to play for Team USA in
the AHL All Star Classic. Unfortunately for Leaf fans,
while Brad Leeb and Brad Boyes are both all-star
worthy, there are no spots on the Canadian roster
available. It’s possible that Anders Eriksson may be
named, but he’s a defenceman and Luca Cereda, while
fitting the criteria for Planet USA, hasn’t had what
you would call an all-star worthy season.

Leafs defenceman Jay Harrison is going to be out of
the Leafs lineup for a while. The defenceman suffered
a spleen injury during a recent game on the road trip.
Dmitri Yakushin, Ponikarovsky and Craig Mills (veteran
rules) sat out the Lowell game.

Lowell forward Harold Druken got an assist for the
Monsters but also got some heat from the hometown
fans.
On numerous occasions, fans were yelling at Druken to
hit more and shoot more. However, when his assist was
announced, Druken received a nice hand from the 4,399
faithful in attendance. Tonight’s matchup is sold out.

Finally, former Leaf and Hab Terry Ryan is coming out
of retirement to play with the Orlando Seals of the
Alantic Coast Hockey League. He had been a firefighter
after a nagging ankle injury, but a new medical
opinion says the ankle won’t be better or worse with surgery.