The Toronto Marlies had their hearts broken in 2012 on home ice, but there wouldn’t be a repeat this year as they captured their first-ever Calder Cup.
Six years ago, the Toronto Marlies had to watch another team celebrate on their ice. The 2012 Calder Cup didn’t pan out exactly how the team had envisioned.
The Norfolk Admirals came in with a very strong squad, headed by Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Cory Conacher and Richard Panik. The team was also coached by Jon Cooper. Safe to say the Marlies could have been a tad outmatched.
Norfolk took it to Toronto and managed to sweep the series, with the Marlies being manhandled 6-1 in the deciding Game 4.
So, as sports go, the Marlies came out for Game 7 of the Calder Cup Finals and took care of business in front of the home faithful at Ricoh Coliseum. The final score: 6-1 over the Texas Stars.
It certainly didn’t have the makings of a blowout through the first two periods, in fact, it was only 2-0 in favour of Toronto after 40 minutes.
Andreas Johnsson opened the scoring just over 10 minutes into the contest. Mason Marchment followed up in the final minute of the first, ripping a puck home off a pretty pass from Trevor Moore.
Then, the madness started. Carl Grundstrom gave the Marlies a three-goal lead just 3:35 into the third frame.
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Texas’ lone goal in the contest didn’t come without controversy. After a scramble in Garret Sparks‘ crease, the puck came close to going over the line, but the referees blew the play dead before it could cross.
Regardless, the zebra’s went to take a look at the play. Despite there being no angle of the puck definitively crossing the goal line, the refs awarded a goal to the visitors.
The fans — who were already incensed after the refs put their whistles away on several plays — serenaded the officials with a “Ref you suck” chant for the remainder of the game.
Marlies Head Coach Sheldon Keefe also gave the refs an earful after catching the replay on the jumbotron.
Regardless, there was nothing more Texas could do to draw back into the contest. Johnsson re-established the Marlies three-goal lead. Then Ben Smith and Marchment added markers to solidify the cup victory.
The Marlies have now added to a magical seven-month span that has already seen Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts win titles.
There will undoubtedly be work to do for the Marlies between now and next season. With Johnsson and Travis Dermott look to be on their way to the NHL, and with others being in contention for jobs with the Leafs, some re-tooling will need to happen.
For now, though, veterans and rookies alike will celebrate their victory as one.
Although Kyle Dubas is no longer calling the shots when it comes to the Marlies, he will absolutely be looking to make his AHL affiliate as stacked as possible for another run at the Calder Cup in 2019.
How much attention did you pay to the Toronto Marlies’ journey towards their first ever Calder Cup championship? What were your favourite highlights of their season? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.