Friday, May 23, 2014

West Final starts tonight

Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Marlies

Clayton Theriault
Staff Writer

The Toronto Marlies are perfect so far in the postseason. After sweeping the Milwaukee Admirals in three games and the Chicago Wolves in four, the Marlies advanced to the American Hockey League's Western Conference Final for the second time in three years. They are the only team in the AHL that has not registered a loss in the first two rounds of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Western Conference Final will, without a doubt, be their biggest test yet as they will be facing off against the Texas Stars, a team that led the AHL with 106 points after posting aa record of 48-18-3-7 during the regular season. The Marlies and Stars split their four game season series 2-2.

If the Marlies want to have success against the Stars they must continue their special teams dominance. Toronto's penalty-killing percentage is 89.7, while their power play percentage is at 25. Similarly, the Stars penalty-killing percentage is at 86.7. Their power play percentage is 22. Through two rounds it is apparent that discipline is a must from both teams in this series.

Game one of the Western Conference Final begins tonight at 8:30 p.m in Texas. The game can be seen on LeafsTV.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Marlies Take 3-0 Lead

Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Marlies
Clayton Theriault
Staff Writer

The Toronto Marlies are the hottest team in Toronto. After defeating the Chicago Wolves 4-3 at Ricoh Coliseum on Wednesday night, the Marlies remain unbeaten in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs with a 6-0 record. With the win, Toronto took a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Semifinal series.

After a back and fourth game, Jerry D'amigo scored 3:28 in to the first overtime to defeat the Wolves. D'amigo has points in each of the Marlies six games so far this postseason and leads the American Hockey League with 11 points (4G, 7A). Toronto's special teams were dominant once again, as Toronto went 1-2 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill. The other goal scorers for the Marlies were Peter Holland, T.J. Brennan and Brandon Kozun.

The Marlies have two chances at home to close out the best-of-seven series. Game 4 goes Friday night at 7 p.m. If needed, game 5 is scheduled for Saturday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available for Game 4.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Leafs future set for Worlds

Photo Courtesy of

Justin Smith

Team Canada is gearing up for preliminary round match-ups at the World Hockey Championships, and there are some familiar faces set to compete.

James Reimer, Morgan Reilly and Nazem Kadri are ready to start their journey for gold and will face France tomorrow. After a disappointing season and an uncertain future for the Leafs this summer, all three players are looking to prove that they can compete with the best.

According to TSN Ottawa Bureau Reporter Brent Wallace the lines at practice today had Kadri centering the second line, while Reilly was placed on the third defensive pairing.

With Reimer set to get the first start, he will likely be playing for the chance to impress not only the accompanying Canadian coaching staff but also Leafs management. Although many believe that he will be traded in the off-season at some point, it is also conceivable that he may be playing for a contract with his future team. Whichever reason he might have, if Reimer performs well at this year's Worlds, the will be the beneficiary. With Team Canada being situated in a different grouping than Team U.S.A, all three Leafs will likely have to wait until the quarter-finals to face their teammate Jake Gardiner.

The tournament is being held in Minsk, Belrus this year, with 16 teams participating. Tomorrow's contest between Canada and France can be seen on TSN at 9:30 a.m Eastern.   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Marlies Set to face Wolves

Photo Courtesy of The Toronto Marlies

Clayton Theriault
Staff Writer

The Toronto Marlies closed out their opening round best-of-five series with the Milwaukee Admirals with a 2-0 win on Thursday night. Drew MacIntyre was the first star of the game with a 29 save shutout. Greg Mckegg scored with just over two minutes left in the second period and T.J. Brennan added an empty net goal late in the third to seal the fate of the Admirals.

On Sunday it was announced that Toronto will face off against the Chicago Wolves (AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues) in the second round of the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Marlies and Wolves split their season series 1-1. Both games were decided by just one goal. Game one of the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal series is scheduled for Friday May 9 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.

Who to Watch:

Jerry D'amigo: (2G - 4A)

Trevor Smith: (0G - 5A)

T.J. Brennan: (2G - 1A)

Drew MacIntyre: (3-0-0  1 SO  1.33 GAA)

After the first round it appears the Marlies are in top shape. Round two will be a tough task for Toronto as the Wolves have home ice advantage. However, the Marlies will have a three game home stand after the first two games of the series. Those three games are absolutely vital if they are going to win this Semifinal match-up. If necessary, games six and seven will be played in Chicago.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Playoff leading Marlies

Photo Courtesy of the Toronto Marlies

Justin Smith

This time of year there seem to be many sentiments in sport that tend to hold true.

Leadership, grit and team toughness are just some of the things that you will likely see over the course of a post-season run. Just look at how the Toronto Raptors have captured the hearts of Toronto during their first round playoff match-up with the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately the Leafs found a way to let their fans endure another collapse in the Spring, so they won't be able to emulate these types of virtues.

Which leads us to the Toronto Marlies, who are on the brink of sweeping their first round opponent in the Milwaukee Admirals. With key contributions from Jerry D'Amigo, Sam Carrick and captain Trevor Smith; this young team will attempt to mirror their Calder Cup run in 2012.

The statistical information of the aforementioned players are pretty impressive with only two games being played thus far in the post-season.

1. D'Amigo leads the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs in scoring with five points. (2G - 3A)
    He ranks 1st on the Marlies all-time playoff scoring list with 27 points in 28 games. (11G - 16A)

2. Trevor Smith leads all players in playoff assists in the 2014 playoffs so far.

3. Sam Carrick leads all players in playoff goals in the 2014 playoffs so far.

Side Note:

What is being dubbed as the 'Black Aces' by the Marlies coaching staff; Fabrice Herzog, Carter Verhaeghe, Frederik Gauthier and newly added Conner Brown make up this group of "extra skaters". They are learning what it takes to be successful by former NHL captain and Leafs' player development adviser, Steve Staios. All four players will likely see some ice-time during these Calder Cup playoffs due to curiosity and injuries.

Photo Courtesy of THE CANADIAN PRESS

The 'Black Aces' regular season stats:

Connor Brown - Erie Otters (Captain)
Leafs 2012 draft pick: 6th Round - 156th overall.

Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Right
Height: 5'11
Weight: 170
Birthdate: January 14 1994
Hometown: Etobicoke, Ontario

2013 - 2014 OHL Regular Season: 68GP  45G - 83A (128 points)

Frederik Gauthier -  Rimouski Oceanic
Leafs 2013 draft pick: 1st Round - 21st overall

Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'4
Weight: 215
Birthdate: April 26 1995
Hometown: Laval, Quebec

2013 - 2014 OMJHL Regular Season: 54GP  18G - 32A (52 points)

Carter Verhaeghe - Niagara IceDogs
Leafs 2013 draft pick: 3rd Round - 82nd overall

Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'2
Weight: 185
Birthdate: August 14 1995
Hometown: Waterdown, Ontario

2013 - 2014 OHL Regular Season: 65GP  28G - 54A (82 points)

Fabrice Herzog - Quebec Remparts
Leafs 2013 draft pick: 5th Round - 142nd overall

Position: Right Wing
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'2
Weight: 189
Birthdate: December 9 1994
Hometown: Frauenfeld, Switzerland

2013 - 2014 QMJHL Regular Season: 61GP  32G - 26A (58 points)

Game time is at 7:00 pm at Ricoh Coliseum. The game will be broadcasted live on LeafsTV.