TORONTO, ON – When Toronto Marlies goalie Garret Sparks was a kid growing up in Illinois, his mom, Lisa, would help him prep for big games. Sparks would stand in front of the family pool table as his net. Lisa would hurl tennis balls at him, picking them out of a big bucket one by one.
“You gotta do what you gotta do at that age to get yourself in the zone,” Sparks says with a laugh. “And it worked.”
Sparks and the Marlies face their biggest game of the season so far when Toronto hosts the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the opener of their American Hockey League third-round playoff series on Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum.