A playoff spot is clinched, which means there’s nothing for the Toronto Marlies to play for, right? Wrong! Going into tonight, the team had wiggle room to climb as high as an additional two spots in the Western Conference standings, depending on how Chicago, Oklahoma City and Texas did. Oh, and themselves, because they had a game against the Rockford IceHogs. It wasn’t the prettiest, but they did manage to pick up the two points.
The Marlies put themselves in a good position to in quick fashion, picking up a two goal lead by the halfway point of the opening frame. Five minutes in, William Nylander finished off a play orchestrated by Matt Finn and Matt Frattin. Shortly thereafter, Connor Brown created a breakaway for himself and beat Mac Carruth five-hole.
From here, Toronto eased up, while Rockford poured it on in an attempt to win their season finale. Nothing seemed to be working, however, and it was Byron Froese who was next to score, widening the gap to 3-0 early in the third period. Christopher Gibson kept stopping pucks, but with six seconds left, Tanner Kero finally snapped the shutout, delaying everybody’s exit from the building to put his team on the board.
While the aforementioned Gibson was probably the best player, I’m going to give the warrior to Matt Finn for picking up an assist after missing significant time due to an injury. He’s had an extremely rough rookie season, so seeing some odd moments of clarity is certainly nice.
Summing It Up
You can’t really brag about being outshot 41-17, but two points are two points. This now turns tomorrow’s game against Chicago into a battle for 7th in the West, which would mean facing Grand Rapids instead of Utica. To be honest, the Marlies are in a rough spot either way, so a solid sixty minutes of effort are all you can really ask for.