It is an all Canadian week in the AHL for the Marlies, so break out your maple syrup and enjoy the latest edition of the Pre Game Meal!
It is always more fun to look at events in life in a positive manner and so, I choose to do so with the Marlies entering play in St. John’s off a loss to Hamilton. Toronto had played 10 games without a regulation loss prior to Tuesday night and in those 10 games, collected 8 wins and 18 of a possible 20 points. That run has helped pave the way for a 1st place title in both the North Division and the Western Conference and maintaining that post is not easy. For the most part, Toronto have demonstrated how versatile there team is, specifically highlighted with their play from December 9th leading into January 8th. In a league filled with winning percentages that change by the week due to streaks of wins and losses, this month of consistent dominance by the blue and white is a standings standout.
As the NHL returns, so do prospects to Maple Leaf’s camp and that means a different looking AHL roster. Despite the names of Frattin, Kadri, Komarov, Kostka, Fraser, Holzer, Gardiner and Scrivens toiling for a spot with the big club, the Marlies depth will shine through. Keith Aucoin leads the team in points with 35 and could be top 3 in the league by the end of this weekend. Captain Ryan Hamilton leads the team with 16 goals and is top 10 among his peers in that department. Paul Ranger is a plus 16 and has been on a tear point wise, picking up 10 points in December. Joe Colborne is heating up and will help carry the load up front with the likes of fellow first round picks Carter Ashton and premiere face-off man Mike Zigomanis. Take note Marlies fans, there is still plenty of skill to put on display!
Next up on the Canadian roady is the St. John’s Icecaps, affiliate of the Winnipeg Jet’s, based in wonderful Newfoundland. Aside from the fact that the previous incarnation of the franchise used to be the Maple Leaf’s farm team in the AHL years ago, there is something special about this cross conference all Canadian rivalry. Last season it was an epic battle between two of the league’s top clubs, this year the gap in the standings is larger, but the battle is still expected to be a good one. The Icecaps have not won at home since November 25th and have dropped 3 straight games entering into the back to back set vs Toronto, however motivation to beat a national rival is always present. The Marlies will test out the new version of their roster which now includes Andrew Crescenzi, Jamie Devane, Corey Syvret, Ryan Grimshaw and Mark Owuya. All have continued their development at the ECHL and are aiming to make an impact at the AHL level, with the four players searching for their first AHL goal.
Thanks for stopping by the blog.
You can catch the broadcast’s from the Rock by logging into AHL Live at 6pm ET both Friday and Saturday or tune into your local Rogers TV station for the golden pipes of Brian Rogers on the Icecap broadcasts.
Talk to you all next week!