Photo credit:Nick Barden
Leafs Prospect Roundup: Marlies final stretch, OHL and Growlers playoffs
By Kyle Cushman1 year ago
It’s time for a playoff heavy edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs prospect roundup! Just as the Leafs are in their final week of the season, the Marlies enter a huge week with their playoff lives on the line, plus updates from the OHL and ECHL after the first week of their respective postseasons.
Let’s get right into things!
It’s crunch time for the Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate.
The Marlies went 1-2-0 last week with two heartbreaking one-goal losses to division rivals in the Belleville Senators. Thanks to Rochester’s own struggles (0-2-2 last week), the Marlies remain fifth in the North Division standings and in a playoff spot for the time being.
Rochester has one game remaining in their regular season, a home game against the North Division’s top squad, the Utica Comets. A win would put the Americans ahead of Toronto for the final playoff spot in the North Division, but it isn’t quite that straightforward. As the Marlies and Americans have different lengths of schedule this year, seeding is based on points percentage.
Currently, the Marlies sit at .551, with the Americans behind at .547. The Marlies, though, have three games remaining away at Laval (twice) and finishing the year in Belleville. With this format, Rochester could lose on Friday and still beat the Marlies for the final playoff spot if the Marlies fail to record two points out of the three games.
Here are the remaining scenarios for the Marlies:
- 6/6 points = Clinch
- 5/6 points = Clinch
- 4/6 points = Clinch
- 3/6 points = Clinch with Rochester loss (any fashion)
- 2/6 points = Clinch with Rochester regulation loss
- 1/6 points = Eliminated
- 0/6 points = Eliminated
Looking back on last week’s performances, @Pontus Holmberg has arrived in North America and assumed the 1C role immediately for the Marlies. It comes as no surprise given the Marlies struggles at centre all season and Holmberg’s impressive play in Sweden, but he’s adapted quickly to the position.
Playing alongside @Brett Seney and @Joey Anderson, Holmberg scored a secondary assist in his debut, his first goal on an empty net to seal a win against Laval, and added a powerplay marker in his third game.
As for @Nicholas Robertson, he was his usual self scoring another three goals and an assist. He peppered 15 shots on goal as well as he continues to be a difference-maker for the Marlies down the stretch. With @Michael Bunting’s injury, I wonder if we could see one more Robertson appearance in the NHL before the year is over.
OHL Playoffs Update
It’s been a tough start to the playoffs for @Ty Voit and the eight seed Sarnia Sting.
In tough against the top-seeded Windsor Spitfires, Sarnia has scored just one goal through the first two games of the series. Shutout in Game 1, Voit assisted on Sarnia’s first and only goal of the playoffs so far in Game 2, but it wasn’t enough as the Spitfires took both games at home.
The series moves to Sarnia for Games 3 and 4, where Voit and the rest of the Sting will look to hold the fort and extend the series.
As for @Braeden Kressler and the Flint Firebirds, they took a surprising 6-3 loss in Game 1 against the lower-seeded Owen Sound Attack. Flint flipped the script in Game 2, winning 6-3, as the series shifts to Owen Sound.
Kressler has remained off the scoresheet in both games, sitting at a +1 with five shots on goal.
The Growlers hit the ice for Kelly Cup playoff action for the first time since winning the 2019 championship back on Friday in a thriller, with the Growlers taking Game 1 by a score of 7-4 against the Trois-Rivieres Lions.
Veteran Zach O’Brien led the charge with a goal and four points, while Marlies depth defenceman Matt Hellickson added two markers. Orrin Centazzo, who is signed to an ECHL contract for 2021/22 but is someone to keep an eye on for a Marlies deal, scored twice as well.
The leaky defence was quickly shored up by head coach Eric Wellwood and crew, as Newfoundland successfully defended home ice and took Game 2 in dominant fashion. While Trois-Rivieres got on the board first, the Growlers scored five straight to take the comfortable victory.
11 of 16 skaters recorded a point, with Tyler Boland, Ben Finkelstein, and Zach O’Brien double-dipping. Keith Petruzzelli had a much calmer night in the net as well, stopping 24 of 26 shots against.
The series now moves to Trois-Rivieres, where the Growlers will look to end the series quickly and maintain their perfect playoff series record.
More from TheLeafsNation.com:
- 5 potential first-round targets for the Leafs at the U18 World Championships by Kyle Cushman
- Maple Leafs say Michael Bunting ‘feeling better’, will know more about his injury when they return home by David Alter
- If you’re not cheering for the Maple Leafs this postseason, you’re being difficult by Filipe Dimas
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