The Toronto Marlies season is now at the half way point after a 5-2 victory Saturday against the Rochester Americans which capped off a strong first half of the season that has placed them second in the AHL North Division standings by points % as they move on to the second half.

Saturday’s win against the Amerks extended the team winning streak to four games and it was highlighted with two goals scored by Nick Robertson who returned last week after sitting out almost four months with a leg injury he suffered in only the second game of the season, way back in October. Several other members of the team stepped up for this game too, as they have in the past months to push the Marlies forward this season.

The Amerks have been chasing the Marlies for most of the season, so Saturday’s convincing victory was a big benefit to the Marlies in the standings.

Here’s Robertson’s first goal of the game, and since it was the third Marlies goal, that means it turned out be the game winner.

Semyon Der-Arguchintsev had the primary assist on the goal above, and also on two other goals. Those are on top of his own two goals scored in the previous two games he played, bringing his totals for this season to 7 goals and 13 assists in 32 games.

Joey Anderson also continues to be a huge driver of the team’s offence, leading the team with 14 goals scored in 27 games. Here is his contribution to the five goal total which came on the power play with literally one second left.

The Marlies ran away with the game at this point, and defenceman Mac Hollowell let the Amerks know that with three minutes left, taking down Matej Pekar and then hilariously shows himself out of the arena at warp speed.

Nick Robertson added an empty net goal to rub some salt in that wound. Overall, Robertson looked so sharp and fast in this game that if you were not aware he had been out so long with a serious injury you wouldn’t ever suspect it. This is great news as we want to see as much of Robertson’s game as possible in advance of next season’s Leafs training camp when he will be 21 years-old, and should be near the point were he puts up a real challenge for a permanent spot on the Leafs’ roster.

The Marlies next games against the Amerks are a home-away series at the end of February, which is certain to be as feisty as this one.

Here is the game highlight pack.

Dubas on the Marlies

Dubas had a press conference yesterday after the Leafs practice and several Marlies topics came up. First, on both Nick Ritchie and Kyle Clifford, he said they will report to the Marlies when they resume team practices later this week. The Leafs put Ritchie on waivers in January, and then finally sent him down to the Marlies after a performance that was below their expectations so far this season.

There are reports the Leafs are looking for a trade partner to move him somewhere he can play in the NHL, but nothing appears to be close at this time. The NHL trade deadline this season is March 21st, so there is a lot of time left to make a move, which is also a lot of time for Ritchie to spend on the Marlies.

Speaking of that deadline, it is also the last day on which players can be signed to an NHL contract and still be allowed to participate in the NHL playoffs and that was the second Marlies topic broached by Dubas. He alluded to the Leafs keeping that day in the back of their minds with respect to the group of players on AHL contracts, mentioning Josh Ho-Sang by name. Ho-Sang has been cited by several media sources as a player the Leafs would like to elevate in the organisation, but they deferred it to guarantee his ability to participate in the Olympics. Now that he is there in China, Dubas says “we’ll watch Josh as we’ll watch the other forwards... and see how he plays against that group of people.” Dubas also mentioned Curtis Douglas, Antti Suomela, and Joseph Blandisi—who is still on a try-out contract—as players they are monitoring, so there’s no guarantees of a contract for Ho-Sang this season, but Dubas did say “[Josh will] be in that mix as we head towards the deadline,” and then added “he’s the most individually talented of that group.” That’s some high praise.

Next Marlies Game

The Marlies now have ten days until their next game on February 16 which is against the Utica Comets, the top team in the division. It’s a quirk of the schedule that there is a long break now and it was mostly baked in from the beginning. A part of the time was to accommodate the AHL All-Star Classic, which was to be held over two days, yesterday and today, in Laval, Quebec. The event was cancelled some time ago, but the team still has several days off in lieu. Also, like most other North American sports leagues, the AHL generally keeps a light schedule around the Superbowl, which is this coming Sunday, so it’s not a surprise they weren’t playing through that day.

However, the Marlies will be starting up practice later this week as noted by Dubas, and we will monitor for news from there. In the meantime, the Canadian Men’s Hockey team is scheduled to have its first Olympic match on Thursday against Germany, and we are eager to see where Josh Ho-Sang will fit in to their line up for that game.