The Marlies found out their second round opponent for the Western Conference semifinals last night after the San Antonio Rampage upset the Chicago Wolves 3-2 in their quarterfinal series. First-placed Oklahoma City will play the sixth-seeded Rampage while the Marlies have drawn the fourth-placed Abbotsford Heat, who also swept their first round series over Milwaukee. Game 1 goes Tuesday, May 1st at the Ricoh Coliseum. The Marlies went 2-1-1 against the Heat this season, but the Heat have won the team’s two most recent meetings. Abbotsford is currently riding a 10-game winning streak, with goaltender Danny Taylor winning his last eight. The playoff format now shifts to best-of-seven for the semifinals onwards.
The announcement and full second round schedule from the Marlies:
A proud member of the American Hockey League, the Toronto Marlies announced today that they will play the Abbotsford Heat, AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames, in their second round best-of-seven Calder Cup Playoff series. Abbotsford finished second in the West Division and fourth in the Western Conference with 92 points. The Marlies posted a record of 2-1-1-0 against the Heat during the 2011/12 regular season.
Toronto will play host to games one, two, six, and seven at Ricoh Coliseum. The following are the confirmed dates and times for the series (all times eastern):
Game 1 â€“ Tuesday, May 1st: Abbotsford at Toronto 7:00 p.m. (Rogers TV â€“ Cable 10/63, AM 640)
Game 2 â€“ Thursday, May 3rd: Abbotsford at Toronto 7:00 p.m. (Rogers TV â€“ Cable 10/63, AM 640)
Game 3 â€“ Saturday, May 5th: Toronto at Abbotsford 10:00 p.m. (AM 640)
Game 4 â€“ Tuesday, May 8th: Toronto at Abbotsford 10:00 p.m. (AM 640)
*Game 5 â€“ Wednesday, May 9th: Toronto at Abbotsford 10:00 p.m. (AM 640)
*Game 6 â€“ Saturday, May 12th: Abbotsford at Toronto 3:00 p.m. (Rogers TV â€“ Cable 10/63, AM 640)
*Game 7 â€“ Sunday, May 13th: Abbotsford at Toronto 3:00 p.m. (Rogers TV â€“ Cable 10/63, AM 640)
Second round playoff tickets are on sale now, call the teamâ€™s ticket line at 416-597-PUCK (7825) or visit marlies.ca to get yours today.
A good breakdown of Abbotsford’s recent performance (riding a 10-game tear) can be found over at Heat Hub:
The Heat are scoring a lot more over their past ten games. Over the streak Abbotsford has tucked 44 pucks into the net (4.4 GF), and have been tight defensively allowing just 19 goals against (1.9 GAâ€¦ donâ€™t you love dividing by tens?) which is an especially healthy margin given the strength of schedule they faced [CHI, RCH x2, CHA x2, TOR x2, MIL x3]. Prior to the run the first 69 games of the season saw the Heat score 2.64 per contest.
Even more impressive though, is the clubâ€™s play five-on-five as theyâ€™ve actually been bested on special teams over the run, having scored eight PPG on 46 attempts (17.4%), but surrendered 10 power play goal to the enemy on just 41 attempts (24.4%).
Removing the power play scoring on a per game basis and the Heat are allowing less than one goal against per contest at even strength, while putting up better than three and a half goals of their own when man power is even-up. Tough to imagine they could be better, but special teams analysis indicates just that. Itâ€™s five-on-five play that appears to be driving the winning streak, not a hot man-advantage.
Goaltending duties have seen Danny Taylor carrying the bulk of the load as Leland Irving became a father, and missed time with the team. Taylor has allowed just 12 goals over his 8 starts and has two shutouts over the run. Irving has two wins with seven goals against over the pair. No question Taylor has the hot hand, heâ€™s won eight in a row!