TORONTO- A 2-1 shootout win on Wednesday against the Lake Erie Monsters moved the Toronto Marlies that much closer to clinching a playoff position.
There are 10 games remaining in the season and they have a nine-point lead over Lake Erie and the Rochester Americans, who are tied for second, for top spot in the North Division…..Rochester sits eighth in the Western Conference while Lake Erie sits out of the playoffs in ninth…..Toronto has seven victories in overtime but their victory against Lake Erie was their first all season by way of shootout. They had lost their previous three shootout attempts…..The Marlies are now 14-12-6 in one-goal games…..The Marlies are 4 for 46 on the power play in their last 10 games ……Nazem Kadri missed practice this week with the flu and it showed in the game against the Monsters. He was rarely visible and failed to score in the shootout…..Jeff Finger returning to the Marlies’ line up doesn’t look good. He has been out for two months with a concussion and still isn’t skating with the team, or by himself. If he doesn’t suit up again this season, it will mean he leaves Toronto a free agent having only played 54 total games in the minors for $7 million…..
The biggest news regarding the Marlies roster is the additions of David Broll and Sondre Olden. If you’re curious why they are allowed to join the Marlies after the “clear-day list” deadline it is because they are juniors whose seasons have finished. Neither Broll’s Sault Ste. Mare Greyhounds or Olden’s Erie Otters, both of the OHL, made the playoffs so they become elgible for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Dallas Eakins, however, says they will not play this upcoming weekend and doesn’t know when they will get in the line up. It could be strictly practices until the Marlies clinch a playoff spot…..Kenny Ryan has been a healthy scratch each of the last three games and could be heading back to the ECHL Reading Royals any day. Eakins said he was going to review the health of his team before making a final decision on Ryan’s future…..Leafs prospect Garret Sparks of the Guelph Storm earned the OHL Goalie-of-the-Week honours after picking up two wins with a shutout and .984 save-percentage in the process. The two wins helped his club earn the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference…. Other Leafs prospects who will be participating in the CHL post season are Brad Ross (Portland Winterhawks), Josh Nicholls (Saskatoon Blades), Greg McKegg (London Knights), Josh Leivo (Sudbury Wolves), Andrew Crescenzi (Kitchener Rangers) and Sam Carrick (Brampton Battalion)…..How important is home-ice to the Marlies? They are 21-9-4 at the Ricoh and their .676 win-percentage is best in the Western Conference…..Ben Scrivens continues to improve his stats. His goals-against average is down to 2.08, which is third in the AHL, and his save percentage is sixth in the league at .924…..With Keith Aulie gone to Tampa Bay, recently acquired Mark Fraser has joined Korbinian Holzer on the top-pairing on the blue line. The 6’4″ 220lbs. lefty was picked up from the Anaheim Ducks organization at the trade deadline for Dale Mitchell…..The Marlies roster has five Canadians who made it to pro hockey through the American College system. Scrivens (Cornell), Will Acton and Simon Gysbers (Lake Superior State), Joe Colborne (Denver), Andrew Martens (Bemidji State)…..Despite all the discussion about Leafs prospects, the veterans on the Marlies are a major part of their success. Mike Zigomanis leads the team with 59 points, Ryan Hamilton is second with 46 and Philippe Dupuis has produced 26 in 32 games since being demoted…..Top scoring prospect; not Kadri, Colborne or even D’Amigo. It’s Marcel Mueller with 38 points in 63 games…..Speaking of Hamilton, at 27 he’s having a career year with 23 goals and Eakins made it clear that he doesn’t want him to give up hope on the NHL because he is so close to being there. He admitted that the captain’s name came up many times this season with regards to a call up.
Toronto’s next game is this Saturday when they head to Lake Erie to face the Monsters for the 10th and final time this season.
More news and notes will come in the weekend recap on Sunday.