Toronto Marlies vs Milwaukee Admirals – Game 1 preview

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Author’s note – Before I get started and preview the Toronto Marlies first playoff game this season, I’d like to thank the team at MLHS for bringing me onboard.  A little bit about myself for those of you who don’t already know me.  I’m the creator/founder of Adamonsports.ca.  I provide in-depth coverage of the Toronto Marlies of the AHL.  I’m a college graduate with a diploma in Radio and Television Broadcasting and have always had a passion for writing.  So here I am.  I hope you all enjoy my articles, and as always, I encourage you to comment with your feedback whether it be good or bad.

TORONTO – With the Maple Leafs out of the post-season, Leafs nation has turned their attention to the Marlies, and for good reason.  Toronto had another strong season despite a rash of injuries and call ups to the big club.  The Marlies clinched their third consecutive Sam Pollock Trophy as North Division champions this year becoming just the sixth team in AHL history to do so.  Tonight, the Marlies are set to take on the Milwaukee Admirals in-game #1 of the first round.  For those of you unaware, the AHL recently changed their first round playoff format to a best of 5 rather than a best of 7.  Even though Toronto clinched their division and were the higher seed, the higher seeded team can decide whether or not to start the series at home or on the road.  This decision also is based on any pre-scheduled events happening in the two team’s arenas.  Tonight, WWE wrestling takes over the Ricoh Coliseum hence why the series starts in Milwaukee.

Here’s my take on the matchup at hand:

Matchup

Toronto and Milwaukee only faced each-other twice this season, with the Admirals getting the upper hand in both games.  It’s going to be interesting to see how the Marlies prepare for this series.  The past two years, Toronto has faced their familiar foe in the Rochester Americans.  The Admirals are a very quick team.  They showed their speed and ability to create turnovers in their 5-1 victory over the Marlies at Ricoh in March.  After that game Steve Spott admitted he went for a more skill first style lineup, rather than a balanced attack and acknowledged that it backfired.  Look for the Marlies to balance their lineup tonight, even with the number of injuries they have. Physical guys like David Broll, Tyler Biggs, Jamie Devane and maybe even Brad Staubitz and Frazer McLaren could slot into the lineup during this series to keep the Admirals tough guys in check.  Milwaukee is a strong defensive team and are great at keeping teams to the perimeter.  Toronto usually has their way with their opponents when it comes to setting up plays.  The Marlies can work from the outside but are usually very quick to get the puck in tight and tend to have a lot of success around the front of the net.  That being said though, T.J. Brennan has a laser of a shot from the point and could be a very useful player in this series.  The goalies are expected to be Drew MacIntyre and Marek Mazanec.  MacIntyre has put the team on his back this year in goal.  The veteran finished the year with a record of 29-15-3 but at the same time, the offence has been full steam ahead all year. Marek Mazanec led the Admirals with 18 wins.  He split duty with Scott Darling for the majority of the season.  Toronto will have success if they can keep their heads cool.  We’ve seen it all season long.  Steve Spott has said it numerous times that he expects his players to be disciplined. Pick your spots and make good choices.

Matthew Tousignant and Michael Liambis are the two toughest players on the Admirals roster.  Liambis is a name that you may remember for a few reasons.  1. He nearly ended the career of Kitchener Rangers defenseman Ben Fanelli in 2009 with a highly controversial hit. 2. He attended the Maple Leafs rookie camp back in 2009 but was cut.   Both Liambis and Tousignant are great at getting under the skin of their opposition and could easily be effective for the Admirals if Toronto isn’t careful.  It’s going to be interesting to see the lineup Steve Spott elects to go with for the opening matchup.

3 keys to victory

  1. Stay out of the box.  I know it sounds cliché but in a matchup like this, the Marlies need to play their game, on the edge but not over.
  2. Solid goaltending – Toronto’s goaltending struggled towards the end of the season.  Drew MacIntyre, Garret Sparks and Christopher Gibson have all had their fair share of struggles this season but are a key part of this series.  The two games versus the Admirals this year, Garret Sparks and Christopher Gibson were the goalies, while Drew MacIntyre served as the backup for the Maple Leafs when Jonathan Bernier suffered a groin injury.  Game footage is always available but in order for Toronto to take this series, MacIntyre needs to be on top of his game.
  3. Use speed to your advantage – The Admirals are not a slow team by any measure, but the Marlies are very quick.  If Toronto can use their speed to get in tight and create in close opportunities, they should be golden.

 

Injury Update

  • Carter Ashton missed the final two games of the Marlies schedule with a minor knee injury he suffered playing up with the Maple Leafs.  Steve Spott said he should be good to go for game #1 tonight.
  • Peter Holland is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury but is expected to dress tonight.
  • Spencer Abbott has been out since March April 4th with an upper body injury and did make the trip to Milwaukee.  Abbott isn’t expected to play in game #1 but he has been back on the ice skating and shooting.  Possible he dresses is game #2
  • Andrew MacWilliam has been out since March 31st where he suffered a concussion.  He’s day-to-day and did make the trip as well and could suite up for game #1 tonight.

Here’s an image the breaks down the entire series.  It can be found on the AHL’s website – theahl.com

You can watch the game live on LeafsTV tonight at 8pm

breakdown of the series between Toronto and Milwaukee.  Image via theahl.com
breakdown of the series between Toronto and Milwaukee. Image via theahl.com

 

  • Mind Bomb

    Thank you Adam, and welcome to the Jungle :)

    The Admirals play a very physical style,
    whereas Toronto has speed and plenty of skill.  If the Marlies try to
    match the physical game, they’ll get burned.
       If our young guys are having trouble in the AHL in this area, they are going to LOVE Boston :)

  • Komas Taberle

    Welcome Adam!
    Nice job.
    Agreed, Admirals are hard nosed and Marlies can’t try to play their game.
    Looking forward to watching the game tonight!

  • wiski

    Good stuff Adam, may I suggest a new name for your web site, hows Marlies hot stove sound?. 😉

  • AdamNightingale

    wiski  haha, maybe sometime in the future :p

  • Reether

    Welcome Adam, good write up! Earlier today I was was actually hoping that there would be more marlies talk. I’m definitely looking forward to this playoff run. 

    I hope Spott puts Biggs in. I haven’t watched enough of the Marlies this year but I’d like to see him in a position to succeed.

  • AdamNightingale

    Reether  Thanks for the kind words.  I actually did a writeup on Biggs on my own site if you want to have a look. http://www.adamonsports.ca .  With me around, there will be no shortage of Marlies talk!

  • AdamNightingale

    Thanks for all the kind words folks!

  • Mind Bomb

    AdamNightingale wiski

  • Burtonboy

    AdamNightingale  Welcome aboard Adam. Nice to have another perspective on the Marlies and our prospects. Just curious, do you attend the games live at the Ricoh ?

  • Mind Bomb

    AdamNightingale wiskiAhh a diplomat :)

  • ShiftyD

    Marlies on LeafsTV tonight? Holy shit. That is awesome 😀

    Thanks for the write up Adam. Welcome aboard

  • AdamNightingale

    Burtonboy I do.  I have media credentials for the AHL this season so I’m at as many home games as I possibly can get to.

  • Reether

    AdamNightingale Reether  Awesome man, I am definitely going to check it out !

  • Burtonboy

    AdamNightingale Burtonboy  Ahhh excellent . Stuff . I’m not familiar with the Admirals at all but are the Marlies outgunned physically against these guys as some are suggesting ?

  • Burtonboy

    Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill tackles questions about returning next season

    http://www.mlive.com/griffins/index.ssf/2014/04/does_grand_rapids_griffins_coa.html#incart_river_default

  • AdamNightingale

    ShiftyD  thanks!

  • AdamNightingale

    Burtonboy in some ways, yes.The Admirals are a very big team.  They have skilled players but in my opinion, Toronto has the upper hand skill wise because they’ve got so much depth.  The last time these teams met, Spott tried to match speed for speed.  Devane, Broll, Biggs, Staubitz, etc we’re all out of the lineup.  It backfired.  A lot of Toronto’s bigger and stronger guys are fantastic at shutting down the opponent.  Guys like Biggs, Devane, etc they use their body to pin guys along the boards and such.  If Toronto sticks to their game, they’ll win no problem.  It’s when they try and play the other team’s game when mistakes happen and they pay for it

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy Well that does not sound promising lol, I am back a horse that wont get in the race lol

  • Jmessih

    Atta be Adam, great write up. Appreciate the insight!!

  • Yan28

    http://www.livefyre.com/profile/40479172/, great write up brother, info about the Marlies is always appreciated. Will check your site once I am off work. Cheers

  • Burtonboy

    AdamNightingale Burtonboy  Thanks Adam . I was curious because for the most part i thought  the Marlies can and  will play a physical game when needed

  • Burtonboy

    Mind Bomb Burtonboy  I wouldn’t rule him out just yet . He’s only saying what I would expect him to say when taking his present team into a playoff run . Once the season is over all bets are off . Shanny will have lots of influence on this one if they think he’s the guy

  • Yan28

    Let`s talk about Devane. What does he have to gain from spending another year in the Marlies I`d have him on the Leafs roster next year and give Broll a year in the Marlies to develop.

  • Mind Bomb

    Burtonboy Mind Bomb How could he say no to Shanny lol

  • Yan28

    Burtonboy AdamNightingale Admirals must be monsters then cause usually its the Marlies that dominate opponents.

  • Burtonboy

    Yan28  I have it the opposite lol. I think Broll is a better payer overall . Devane need the extra time to become a better player to go along with his fighting skills

  • Cameron19

    Yan28  Well, he won’t be waiver exempt. I dunno if he would be a worthy waiver pick-up for anyone, but it would be basically the same as us stealing McLaren last year. So there’s an outside chance.

  • Cameron19

    Burtonboy Yan28  How much hope do we really have for either of them becoming significant NHL players? They don’t really match-up well with guys like Bickell, Wingels, Maroon and so forth. They both look like 4th line grinders with basically no offense.

  • Mind Bomb

    Cameron19 BurtonboyYan28 
    Ya, but the Broll Dozer sounds pretty cool :)

  • AdamNightingale

    Cameron19 Yan28  Spott sees Broll as more NHL ready and I tend to agree.  He’s become a well rounded player this year.  He’s contributed offensively, he knows his role and he’s solid when it comes to playing defensive hockey.  Devane is getting there, but not quite ready in my opinion.  Devane has the ability to provide offense, look at his stats in junior.  He could do both.  It’s more of the roll they’re told to play than anything.  He’s a big guy, skating is average but he’s smart.  He know’s the game well and he contributes any way he can.  I don’t think another year with the Marlies could hurt either one of them in all honesty.

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 Burtonboy Yan28  I don’t expect either to be players of that ilk. 4th liners at best

  • skippysleafs

    Got a link for the marlies??

  • Cameron19

    Burtonboy Cameron19 Yan28  Disappointing.

  • Burtonboy

    skippysleafs  Nothing scheduled on the usual sites so far . I might buy a months subscription to hockeystreams instead of hoping to find a free one

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 Burtonboy Yan28  How so ? Where they ever expected to be anymore then that ?

  • AdamNightingale

    Burtonboy skippysleafs  you can purchase single game’s on the AHL Live site.  http://ahl.neulion.com/ahl/ not sure how much it is though.  I have a road package.

  • Mind Bomb

    I am surprised not many are on watching the game

  • Mind Bomb

    AdamNightingale Cameron19Yan28 
    TBH I was hoping for a Ashton and D’amigo, Holland and Koromov in our bottom 6 next year, no real room for either,

  • Cameron19

    Burtonboy Cameron19 Yan28  No, not expected. Hoped for though, perhaps. A surprise like a Wingels showing up in the system would be nice.  Instead, we’re continually either just barely meeting expectations, or under-achieving. Just kind of frustrating. Feels like we’re spinning our tires without the odd success story.

  • Murph2417

    Mind Bomb  Hey MB, I would be but some friends invited themselves over.. YAYYYY

  • Mind Bomb

    Murph2417 Mind BombHhaa, they better have brought the booze

  • Burtonboy

    Cameron19 Burtonboy Yan28  Yeah I know what you mean . Seems we are long overdue . Or is it symptomatic of much poorer scouting then we were lead to believe ?

  • Murph2417

    Mind Bomb Murph2417  I can’t even drink, have to get up at 7:00 for work.. lol I’m not that happy about it 😛

  • Murph2417

    skippysleafs  Only starts at 9:00 doesn’t it?

  • Cameron19

    Burtonboy Cameron19 Yan28  A little too safe with the scouting. It looks like a lot of these guys will be regular 4th line NHL players, but that doesn’t translate into NHL value.  You can trade a couple of 3rd liners for a 2nd liner. You can’t do much with a 4th liner, asset wise.

  • Cameron19

    A look at the development of the type of players we need in this organization:

    Bickell

    Draft + 3 year – 48gp, 10g, 15a, +14 (0.52PPG)
    Draft + 4 year – 73gp, 19g, 20a, +1 (0.53PPG) 
    Draft + 5 year – 42gp, 6g, 8a, +8 (0.33PPG)

    Wingels

    Draft + 3 year – 69gp, 17g, 16a, -6 (0.48PPG)
    Draft + 4 year – 29gp, 13g, 8a, +4 (0.73PPG)
    Draft + 5 year – 42gp, 5g, 8a, -9 (0.31PPG)*

    * This was in the NHL though

    Maroon 

    Draft + 3 year – 67gp, 11g, 33a, -15 (0.66PPG)
    Draft + 4 year – 66gp, 26g, 30a, +5 (0.85PPG)
    Draft + 5 year – 75gp, 32g, 42a, +17 (0.99PPG)

  • AdamNightingale

    Murph2417 skippysleafs  8pm eastern

  • Murph2417

    AdamNightingale Murph2417 skippysleafs  So another hour right? only 7 now?

  • Murph2417

    AdamNightingale Murph2417 skippysleafs  9:00 my time lol AST

  • Cameron19

    None of our big guys (Devane, Broll, Biggs), appear to be on this trajectory. Not sure how excited we should be about the future of the toughness and size of our organization.