Maple Leafs: Baby Leafs update

By Kevin Kelly

The St. John’s Maple Leafs made some minor tinkering
to their lineup, but it was another tight affair as
the Leafs and Milwaukee Admirals skated to a 2-2 draw on the 30th, in what was a penalty filled affair. Mike Farrell tallied
at 4:55 of the third to get the tie for the Admirals.
Brad Tiley scored the other Milwaukee goal. Out was
Pierre Hedin while Brendan Bell and Chris Chartier
were in. Bell wanted to rebound after being a healthy
scratch for the first time in his career.

“I want to play. But it’s a numbers situation. There
are five of us that are considered offensive
defensemen. You’ve got to take advantage of your
opportunities. I think I’ve made a good adjustment
so far (to the AHL).”

“I think we played a pretty good game,” the rookie
rearguard said. “We’re a hard working team, a lot of
emotion, a lot of speed and that’s the way we want to
play. It’s a little disappointing giving up the goal
in the third period and end up kissing your sister.”

Karel Pilar once again had a strong game, scoring his
second goal in as many nights and earning first star
honours, while Kyle Wellwood added a pair of assists
to now lead the Leafs in scoring with seven points.
Harold Druken while not on the scoresheet except for a
penalty, did play extremely well in only his second
game back, and created a number of offensive
opportunities, including one play of dipsy doodling
that made local fans awestruck, even if it didn’t
result in a goal. Jay Harrison, who tallied the other
Leafs goal, also played solid behind the blueline and
was deemed hardest working player.

Harrison says the plethora of defensemen around in the
Leafs dressing room these days is good for the team.
“With numbers like this, sometimes good defencemen
have to sit out. That keeps us on the edge of our
seat, and we have to play well every time. It gives a
little positive peer pressure, and positive
competition in our dressing room, and that makes the
team only better.”

Sebastien Centomo once again got the nod for the Leafs
in goal, making 32 saves. Former NHLer Wade Flaherty
(Calgary fans surely remember him from that 1995
series when as a San Jose Shark, he caused the playoff
ouster of the Flames in Game 7 of that opening round
series) made 31 saves for the Admirals.

Colaiacovo hurt

A bit of a pre-Halloween scare for the Leafs as Carlo
went to hospital after a slash from Mike
Farrell hit his thumb. The prospect defenceman did go
to hospital, but his thumb isn’t broken and could play
this weekend in Binghamton Saturday or Toronto Sunday
(the Roadrunners folks, not the Leafs).

Noted visitors

AHL president Dave Andrews took in the series between
the Leafs and Admirals, while CBC Hockey Night in
Canada broadcaster Bob Cole also checked out
Wednesday’s game.

Attendance slump?

Only 3,648 showed to check out Wednesday’s game. Under 4,000 attended Tuesday’s game.

Future star

The Leafs now hit the road against Binghamton,
Toronto, Hershey, Hamilton and Binghamton again before
retuning home to face the Chicago Wolves November 14
and 15. The series should be exciting because of Atlanta Thrashers star prospect Kari Lehtonen,
Some pretty good goalies play have played here in
the past: Roberto Luongo, Rick Di Pietro, Jose
Theodore, Mathieu Garon, Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

Colaiacovo leads Baby Leafs to victory

The St. John’s Maple Leafs had something they haven’t
had in a long time on October 28th, and that was extra
bodies to go around (25 to be exact). The signing of
defenseman Karel Pilar and his return to the ice, the
acquisition of 385 game NHL veteran Clarke Wilm along
with the St. John’s debut of highly touted defensive
prospect Maxim Kondratiev all meant someone had to
sit. Regan Kelly, Brendan Bell, David Turon and Chris
all sat out Tuesday’s game, along with the
injured Luca Cereda, Josh Holden and Ben Ondrus. But
it was Carlo Colaiacovo who was the story on this
night as his first pro goal with 1:05 left in OT led
the Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Admirals. Colaiacovo stormed up ice to take a nice pass from Brad Leeb, and fired a hard shot over the shoulder of Admirals netminder Brian Finlay, who played well despite the loss.

Pilar made an immediate impression, tallying his first goal of year, with Nathan Barrett rounding out the scoring for St. John’s. Goalie Sebastien
earned first star honours with a 40 save
performance (for his fourth win of the season) with only
Curtis Murphy and Mike Farrell getting pucks past the young netminder.
Pierre Hedin of the Leafs was solely responsible for
the Murphy goal as his clearing pass actually went on
the tape of Admiral Libor Pivko, who forwarded to
Murphy for the Admirals first goal.
The night also featured the return of Harold Druken to
the Leafs lineup for his first game in his hometown as
a Leaf. Coach Doug Shedden, while pleased with the
effort, did comment that some of the new players
looked a little tired, but that is to be expected when
they haven’t played in a while.
The Baby Leafs play Milwaukee once again tonight.

Disappointed Bell Islanders

It was a little disappointing for Bell Islanders
hoping to see Scottie Upshall play. Upshall was
recalled to Nashville on Tuesday. Upshallis not a Newfoundland native per se,
but his parents are from Bell Island, Newfoundland.
Upshall was born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, where many
Newfoundlanders call their second home.

Wilm brings experience to table

New addition Clarke Wilm won’t be an offensive
presence for the Blue and White, but he is a gritty
veteran who is extremely good on the penalty kill.