Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Marlies Face Long Trips to Abbotsford in Second Round of AHL Playoffs: Marlies Will Criss-Cross Canada in Round 2

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Marlies Face Long Trips to Abbotsford in Second Round of AHL Playoffs: Marlies Will Criss-Cross Canada in Round 2

Article excerpt

TORONTO - The Toronto Marlies will be logging plenty of air miles in the next round of the AHL's Calder Cup playoffs.

After making easy work of the close-to-home Rochester Americans in the first round, sweeping them in the best-of-five series, the Marlies will face B.C.'s Abbotsford Heat in the Western Conference semifinals.

If the best-of-seven series goes the distance, the Marlies could end up travelling some 6,000 kilometres across the country. That's a big change from the short drive between Toronto and Rochester.

But Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins says he won't make too many changes to the team's gameplan.

"We're going about our business the same way with Rochester," said Eakins. "The only thing I spoke to them about was the fuel they're putting in their body. I think it's going to be a way more physical series and there will be a hell of a lot of travel."

While success against the sixth-seeded Americans came easier than originally anticipated, the fourth-seeded Heat will present a bigger challenge.

Abbotsford (42-26-8) also swept the Milwaukee Admirals in the first round and, dating back to the regular season, have gone 11-1-1 in their last 13 games, including two wins over Toronto two weeks ago.

"They're probably the best team we saw in the last 20 games of the year," said Eakins. "They have big physical forwards and one thing different than Rochester is they have more offence to give.

"(Clay) Wilson and (Brian) Connelly can put up a ton of points and they are big D-men who can play a shut-down game. I expect a six or seven game series and a few games to go extra long."

Toronto (44-24-8) is the second seed and will host Game 1 on Tuesday night at Ricoh Coliseum.

The Marlies split the season series with Abbotsford at two wins apiece with both clubs earning their victories on home ice.

Matt Frattin led Toronto offensively with four goals in just three games played but he isn't certain that his regular-season success will have any effect on the upcoming series. …

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