With a rough loss against the Utica Comets tonight and a Rochester Americans win against the Binghamton Senators, the Toronto Marlies had another delay in their pursuit of their third consecutive North Division title. But flying under the radar were the Charlotte Checkers, the only non-playoff team who could theoretically overtake the Marlies in points. Tonight, they lost to the San Antonio Rampage, and the Marlies clinched their playoff spot.
The scenario unfolding this way is pretty interesting, seeing as it shows the difference that season series can have. Toronto won all four games they had against the Checkers this season.
With this clinch, the Marlies can still move anywhere between first and eighth in the Western Conference. There’s no real telling just yet who their opponents will be. In any event, they still have eight games left on the season to try to catch up to Grand Rapids (6pts ahead), or Texas (9 points ahead). Or, they can pick up a point, clinch the division and third seed, and start tinkering in hopes of getting their playoff lineup settled.
The team also has an opportunity to really test out both Garret Sparks and Christopher Gibson in between the pipes, with Drew MacIntyre one again filling in for Jonathan Bernier up top for the next three weeks.
In any event, it’s a guarantee that at least one hockey team in Toronto will be playing post-season hockey. As always, we’ll have all the info you need as the team progresses.
Photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com