The Toronto Marlies lost 2-1 to the Milwaukee Admirals last night in a shootout. It’s the third loss in a row for the Marlies who have scored only two goals in their previous three games, but have had eleven goals scored against them.

The Charlotte Checkers (Florida Panthers affiliates; yes I forgot they switched affiliation from Carolina in my previous post,) were their opponent on the weekend. Like the Admirals, they are both from outside of the North Division which reduces the sting of the losses as sealing home-ice advantage in the playoffs matters only from a ranking inside the division. The Marlies still hold it, but their grip has slipped a little bit.

Coach Greg Moore sited the speed of the Checkers as an issue for the team; or in other words, he wanted the team to be more physical and get in their way, but they didn’t and that resulted in those losses. He thinks they need to tighten up their physical game back to where it was earlier in the season.

Here is where things stand in the AHL North Division as of last night.

The Marlies are still the only team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot. In the Western Conference, both the Calgary Wranglers and Coachella Valley Firebirds have clinched; wouldn’t a Calgary-Toronto final for the Calder Cup be super fun? But that’s still long odds and three dozen games away from certainty.

The AHL playoffs have a bye in the first round for the first place team in the division, so the Marlies have a heavy interest in holding on to their lead in the standings. There’s ten games left for them in the regular season, which means there’s still a possibility it could change, but if they held, they would skip the first round and start in the second round where they would play the winner of a best-of-three between the fourth and fifth seeded teams. Those two teams are presently the Rochester Americans and the Belleville Senators.

The Senators are the team which stopped the Marlies from reaching the playoffs last season over three April games where the Marlies needed to earn only one single standings point but got none. It would be a revenge match to face them again, but all these teams still have different ways to get their matches locked up, and ten games still provides ample time for a lot to change in the standings.

The Marlies next games are back in the division with a home-away series against the Cleveland Monsters, notably last in the division standings above—though not by points%—and the Marlies have lost a game to them already this season. The Marlies will play in Cleveland tomorrow, and then they will host the Monsters on Saturday at the Coliseum.

Meanwhile, ICYMI, the Marlies have bolstered their ranks.

Marlies sign Jonny Tychonick

Tychonick did not play last night, but Dmitry Ovchinnikov did make the roster. We’ll see who else might show up tomorrow.

Leafs Schedule

The Leafs four game road trip continues tonight with a stop in Sunrise, playing the Florida Panthers. also a team trying to claw their way into the playoffs sitting now one standings point outside of the room behind the Penguins. This is a desperate team the Leafs will face at 7:00 p.m. ET. It’s a regional broadcast game on Sportsnet Ontario. We’ll have our preview out later this morning.

Other News

There’s no denying this guy’s talent. Connor McDavid got his 60th goal of the season last night when he scored in OT... though one might ask why the Oilers needed OT to defeat the Coyotes.

Though the previous generational talent in hockey had a response to it.

Our Leafs prospects are still in action and Fraser Minten was one who looked great last night.

After the James Reimer incident this is a nice palate cleanser.

‘Dream big and find your journey from there’ -
Aisha Visram had a clear goal in mind growing up in Toronto. She wanted to work in hockey. Somehow, some way. Filling in the details of just how to make that happen would have to come later.

Russia, Belarus banned from IIHF competition next season - CBC
Russia and Belarus teams were excluded by the International Ice Hockey Federation on Wednesday from all its world championships next season, including the women's event in the United States.