Toronto vs Lake Erie - Jake Gardiner, Mike Zigomanis, Brad Ross

It’s going to be tight.

It’s a fact of today’s American Hockey League that head coach Dallas Eakins has been reminding his team of all along. It has also become a reoccurring theme during his post-game public address to the media.

Wednesday’s game in Cleveland against the Monsters demonstrates this perfectly.

Lake Erie sits in the 13th spot of 15 teams in the AHL’s Western Conference. With a glance down the standings, Lake Erie’s 26 points is only two back of an 8th place poll position. One win. A jump to fifth place, the spot which Toronto occupies, would only take an additional five points to their total. Two wins and an overtime loss. The Monsters’ 12 wins on the season is only three back of Abbotsford’s 15. The Heat presently lead the conference.

There’s no taking it easy. There’s no letting your foot off the gas.

Here are my notes ahead of Wednesday’s game:

  • The season series between Toronto and Lake Erie is tied at one goal a piece
  • Toronto has won six of their last seven
  • Nazem Kadri (lower), Mike Zigomanis (upper) and Jake Gardiner (upper) are all out of the Marlies lineup ahead of tonight’s game
  • Mike Kostka has points in his last five games (1g, 4a), while Paul Ranger has four points over the last two
  • With four goals in his last four games, captain Ryan Hamilton is only two goals back of taking the team’s all-time goal scoring record from Jeremy Williams
  • Lake Erie has lost four straight and five of the last six
  • The Monsters will be without enforcer Patrick Bordeleau who will be missing his first of a three game suspension for elbowing
  • Despite the string of losses, rookie Michael Sgarbossa has four points over the past two games, Mark Olver has goals in two straight and undrafted addition Andrew Agozzino has points over the past two as well

Alright, time for the fun stuff. Tune in to all the action as TSN 1050 continues their incredible December coverage, having picked up every Marlies game up to and including January 2nd. Jon Abbott will have the call live from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Ohio starting at 7pm. If internet is more your thing, you can catch the action on AHL Live. The audio feed is always free, and the video costs only a few dollars. You can tune in as well on Sirius 207 / XM 92, but you’ll have to put up with the home broadcast crew (obviously not as cool as Abbott).

Catch me on twitter (@chansler) as I’ll update you with lineup news and notes as they become available.

EXPECTED MARLIES LINEUP

IN GOAL: #40 Jussi Rynnas

FOWARD LINES
Ashton – Colborne – Deschamps
Hamilton – Aucoin – Scott
D’Amigo – McKegg – Frattin
Ross – Acton – Ryan

DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS
Ranger – Kostka
Fraser – Holzer
Blacker – Gysbers

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