Congrat’s are in order for Marlies forward Mike Zigomanis. The Scarborough native is in his 4th year with his hometown franchise and recently hit a pair of AHL milestones. After playing in his 500th AHL game on February 23rd vs Milwaukee, number 7 again laced em’ up for the Marlies on March 6th vs Syracuse and recorded point number 400 in his AHL career. That mark was acheived at Ricoh and in front of over 7 thousand students from around the GTA as the Marlies defeated the Crunch 6-3.
It is a divisional week for the Toronto Marlies who face the Lake Erie Monsters both Wednesday and Sunday, with a game vs Rochester sandwiched inbetween Saturday evening. It represents the end of a 10 game homestand for Toronto and the start of a 7 game road trip. Points are at a premium for all teams involved, with the North Division and Western Conference remaining tight. Lake Erie have dropped their last 2 games prior to entering Toronto and are now 4th in the North and 10th in the conference, with 63 points. Rochester play at home Wednesday and Friday, before entering Ricoh for a 5pm tilt on Saturday. Following a win over the Heat on Sunday, Rochester moved past Abbotsford into 2nd place in the division and 7th in the conference with 66 points. The Marlies are 6-1 vs the Americans this season with 21 goals scored. When looking at the numbers vs Lake Erie, Toronto are 1-3 with 11 goals produced.
With under 20 games remaining in the regular season, Toronto will move out of one crucial stretch and into another, going from home to road. The Marlies enter the week with a 5-3 record during a continuous homestand that will cap at 10 games. From there it is a 15 day, 7 game road trip that takes them through 4 states and is bookended by division rivals Lake Erie and Rochester. The Marlies have won 3 of their last 4 and have a real opportunity to attempt to secure the highest divisional seed come playoff time, by seperating themselves from the pack in the North.
Lake Erie have recieved some support from Colorado, with the Avalanche re-assigning defenceman Stefan Elliott back to the Monsters. Another Avalanche returnee is Michael Sgarbossa, who has points in his last 3 straight games. Lake Erie have lost their last 2 games and while they are potentially 2 points out of 8th, they could also drop as low as 12th with a loss.
Rochester enter the week hanging on to 7th overall position in the conference. The club will have the same amount of games played as the Marlies, come Saturday, which would put them in running contention for 3rd in the West. Entering their current 3 game stretch off a huge win over Abbotsford, the Americans continue to get big points from Mark Mancari, who is on a 6 game point streak.
Points in the bank become more valuable when recorded vs division rivals and the Marlies hope to have 6 big one’s by the time St. Patrick’s day is over.
Wednesday vs Lake Erie 7pm - TSN 1050 AM Radio/ Leafs TV
Saturday vs Rochester 5pm – Rogers TV
Sunday @ Lake Erie 4pm – TSN 1050 AM Radio
*photo courtesy of Christian at TSGphoto.com