A stumble over the finish line saw the Toronto Marlies miss out on the North Division title by a single point at the end of the 2016-17 regular season.

After a playoff berth was secured on April 7 despite a loss in Utica, the Marlies took just four points from a possible ten to round out the regular season.

Despite the faltering finish, it’s the sixth straight season that Toronto has qualified for the post-season — a feat not seen as likely when they found themselves at the bottom of the standings in January.

Victory over Rochester was Toronto’s 24th on home ice this season (24-11-3 at Ricoh Coliseum), although they struggled against Rochester with an overall 4-5-1 record when facing their cross-border rivals. Toronto finished the year with winning records against Utica and St. John’s (5-3-0 and 7-5-0, respectively).

The worrying trend this week was that the Marlies failed to match the intensity of opponents in dire need of points to aid their playoff ambitions.

On special teams, Toronto allowed a power play goal against in four of the five games, with their opponents netting five times overall on 14 opportunities. Toronto‘s play with the man advantage was sporadic, registering at 13% while also allowing one shorthanded goal.

A rematch with the Albany Devils now awaits Toronto in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs, with the Marlies not quite the heavy favourites they were last season.

Game Reviews

Player News

– It’s been confirmed that Brooks Laich underwent surgery on his elbow and is currently rehabbing in California. It never worked out for him with the Marlies and it’s possible he was never fully healthy.

– Pierre Engvall and Jesper Lindgren were signed to ATO’s but neither has received game time. Defenseman Brenden Miller was recalled from Orlando but has also been on the sidelines.

– Seth Griffith led the way with five points in as many games this week. He remains ultra consistent production-wise, and he’ll need to be an offensive leader in any success Toronto has in the post-season.

– A pair of goals and assists for Brendan Leipsic hoisted him past the 50 point mark in 49 outings. He finished just three shy of last year’s points total despite playing 16 fewer games.

– Mike Sislo remains hot since joining the Marlies, netting a pair of goals to take his total to eight in just 18 games for Toronto. However, he sustained what appeared to be a wrist injury during the penultimate game of the season. It would be a big loss should he be unavailable for the Albany series.

– One positive offensively was that five Marlies defensemen found the net. Andrew Campbell, Justin Holl, Rinat Valiev, Andrew Nielsen and Steve Oleksy all found the twine. The latter led the way with three points in the last five games.

– Garret Sparks won just one of his three starts and wasn’t at his best in the pair of weekend games hosted in St. John’s. He had been excellent up until that point and still remains the team’s number one entering the playoffs.

– Kasimir Kaskisuo split his two starts but allowed a shocking goal against in relief of Sparks during the final game of the season after mishandling the puck while out of his net. It’ll be interesting to see whether Sheldon Keefe continues to roll with the rookie goaltender as his back-up or if he goes back to the out-of-favour Antoine Bibeau for Game 1.

Toronto Marlies Player Stats – April 18

Kerby RychelLW73193352-1111811018510.3
Brendan LeipsicLW491833514306114612.3
Cal O'Reilly (TOR)C150880400260
Andreas JohnssonLW7520274784210013814.5
Seth GriffithRW38103444836107513.3
Kasperi KapanenÊ(X)RW431825432169012114.9
Byron FroeseÊ(X)C482415399188213617.6
Andrew NielsenD741425397824013510.4
Mike Sislo (TOR)RW18881618603423.5
Trevor MooreLW57132033918507716.9
Colin SmithÊ(X)C5282028-222001037.8
Dmytro TimashovLW63111324-5325010710.3
Brett FindlayC3410142468104621.7
Colin GreeningC69101424649111109.1
Travis DermottD595192496011985.1
Andrew CampbellD7561622206200996.1
Justin HollD7281119530011117.2
Tobias LindbergÊ(X)LW446101663420688.8
Steve Oleksy (TOR)D2036933910368.3
Frederik GauthierC46491391401517.8
Rinat ValievD4731013-57911744.1
Frank CorradoÊ(X)D181111261400442.3
Richard CluneLW373710-287002213.6
William WrennD39369101600417.3
Brooks LaichÊ(X)C2718931200234.3
Tony CameranesiF314377800596.8
Viktor LoovÊ(X)D4124614300414.9
Milan MichalekÊ(X)LW16235-12000258
Sergey Kalinin (TOR)C1922419001711.8
Nikita SoshnikovÊ(X)RW61231610119.1
Eric FailleÊ(X)RW11123-1000147.1
Marc-Andre ClicheÊ(X)C16123-1600185.6
Daniel MaggioÊ(X)RW41121900520
Brenden MillerÊ(X)D21010000333.3
Mason MarchmentÊ(X)LW9101-2600119.1
Nikolas BrouillardÊ(X)D1000-100030
Shane ConacherÊ(X)RW3000100020
Ty StantonÊ(X)D3000100010
Willie CorrinÊ(X)D4000-220020
Alex GudbransonÊ(X)D4000220020
Josh LeivoÊ(X)LW5000160011

Toronto Marlies Goalie Stats – April 18

Kasimir Kaskisuo75101121.841690.934
Jeff Glass2110042.05440.917
Garret Sparks3121905642.167610.922
Jhonas Enroth3210093.03850.904
Antoine Bibeau32131413973.088170.894
Karri Ramo30300113.8810.88
J.P. Anderson1010044.07240.857