It took a few extra days, but the Toronto Marlies now know who they will be playing in the Calder Cup Semifinals. After defeating the Charlotte Checkers (AHL affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes) in five games, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers) have moved on to the Eastern Conference Finals. The series is set to begin next Saturday, May 19th in Toronto. As to why both teams get over a full week off, your guess is as good as mine.
If you recognize the Phantoms or Checkers it’s because they made the news this week, playing the longest game in AHL history. Game four in Charlotte took 146 minutes and 48 seconds before Alex Krushelnyski of the Phantoms scored the 2-1 goal to give his team a commanding 3-1 series lead on the Checkers. The Phantoms then went home on Saturday and finished off the Checkers in a 5-1 blowout.
The Marlies and Phantoms will not follow the standard 2-2-1-1-1 format we all know and love when it comes to who the home team is in each game. The AHL plays a 2-3-2 in the Conference Finals to help with travel. The Marlies will still have home ice advantage, but will get games 1, 2, 6, and 7; the middle three games (3, 4, and 5) will be in Lehigh Valley.
With this format, if the Marlies falter at home early, they won’t get a chance to come back home until it’s too late. The Phantoms had the best home record in the AHL this season, going 27-6-3-2, while the Marlies carried the best road record of all-time, playing to a 30-5-1-2 record. The results in Lehigh Valley will be interesting to say the least.
Here is the full list of dates for you to peruse. All games will be broadcast on Leafs Nation Network, per the Marlies official release, and most likely TSN 1050 will pick up the radio side of things as well.
Marlies vs. Phantoms ECF has been scheduled as 2-3-2. Meaning games 6 and 7 will be in Toronto if necessary*.— Hardev Lad (@HardevLad) May 13, 2018
1: HOME Sat May 19 4pm
2: HOME Sun May 20 4pm
3: AWAY Wed May 23 7pm
4: AWAY Fri May 25 7pm
5*: AWAY Sat May 26 7pm
6*: HOME Mon May 28 7pm
7*: HOME Wed May 30 7pm