It was no ordinary trip through the Midwest division for the Toronto Marlies this past weekend. The group of games through Chicago, Milwaukee and Peoria represented numbers 3,4 and 5 of 7 straight away from Ricoh Coliseum and also brought the total number of states visited to 4 during the stretch of travel/games. However, those are not even the cool stats! The game against the Wolves, followed up by the game vs the Admirals represented to milestone moments for a pair of young Marlies.
Morgan Rielly scored his 1st AHL/Pro goal in his 1st game with Toronto and it arrived a big time in the game. The British Columbia native’s tally would be the tying goal in the 3rd period and would help solidify a point for Toronto in the final outcome. Rielly finished with 54 points during his WHL regular season with the Moose Jaw Warriors and finished top 5 among defencemen in the league at that mark.
Sam Carrick earned his 1st AHL point in his 1st game, too….but that was back on March the 2nd, in Toronto. His 1st AHL goal would arrive in Milwaukee and act as the opening marker of the hockey game for Toronto; yet another big goal as the club would earn a tie in the period. The Marlies would go on to win that game in overtime and Sam would be a large factor in the 2 points gained that night.
Toronto produced a string of great play even before this road trip began, but continuing it away from home was key to moving up in the Western Conference and staying put in 1st place in the North Division. A streak of 5 straight wins beginning March 10th was followed up by 3 games that produced points in extra time for a total of 8 straight with at least a point and 14 of a possible 16 collected. Wednesday marked the Marlies first regulation loss since March 9th and this stretch of strong play may land the blue and white in a similar position as last season, with over 90 points collected secured a division win and kept them in the top in the conference.
Toronto travels to Rochester on Friday to complete their 7 game, 14 day, 4 state road trip through the Midwest division and bookend by the North. Rochester have moved closer to the Marlies in the standings, having won 3 straight games to move to within 4 points of their division rival. The standout of late has been the play of goaltender David Leggio who has appeared in 55 of the club’s 65 games this year. Leggio was in-goal for 2 of the 3 straight wins collected by the Americans, producing a 38 save 3-2 win over Houston and a 38 save 1-0 win over Syracuse. Toronto are 7-1 vs Rochester this year.
Saturday marks the 1st home game since Rochester was in town on March 16th. The Abbotsford Heat will provide the opposition this time around, meeting the Marlies for the 6th time this season Since last facing Toronto, the Flames affiliate have lost 5 of their next 7. They enter out of the playoff picture, sitting 11th in the Western Conference, with 8 games to be played at the time of this post. The Heat will play their 2nd straight game in Hamilton on Friday before heading to the Ricoh Saturday. Abbotsford suffered a 5-3 loss to the Bulldogs on Wednesday. Sven Baertschi was returned to the AHL team by Calgary and has 4 points in his last 4 games. Toronto will be looking for revenge in the series Abbotsford controls 4-1.
Broadcasts of the upcoming games can be found: Friday March 29th @ Rochester 7pm by visiting theahl.com and AHL Live / Saturday March 30th at 3pm vs Abbotsford is available on Rogers TV
*photo courtesy of Craig Abel