The Toronto Marlies were the first team to advance to the Western Conference Finals in the AHL when they completed their second straight post season sweep. On Sunday, they found out there opponent would be the Texas Stars, the team who finished with the best record in the league. Texas won Game 6 by an impressive score of 7-1 and took the series 4-2 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Eastern Conference Finals have yet to be decided. The St. John’s IceCaps will host either the Providence Bruins or Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, depending on how Game 7 of that series goes tomorrow. But the schedule for the Western Conference Finals has been decided. It is as follows:
Game 1: Friday, May 23 (7:30pm) Toronto at Texas
Game 2: Monday May 26 (7:30pm) Toronto at Texas
Game 3: Wednesday May 28 (7pm) Texas at Toronto
Game 4: Thursday May 29 (7pm) Texas at Toronto
*Game 5: Saturday May 31 (3pm) Texas at Toronto
*Game 6: Monday June 2 (7:30pm) Toronto at Texas
*Game 7: Tuesday June 3 (7:30pm) Toronto at Texas
(* indicates if necessary)
The teams met four times over the course of the regular season. Texas came away with two wins, one loss, and one shootout loss. Drew MacIntyre started every game for the Marlies during the four game regular season series, including one where he was pulled. The Stars registered 49 shots and won 6-0 that game. Stars goalie Jack Campbell was not available for any of the games against the Marlies. He has played 4 games this postseason.
The Toronto Marlies have yet to lose in the postseason. For the most part, the games have not been all that close. Their only overtime game came in Game 3 of their second round series. But when it was all said and done, they still outscored Chicago 17-7 to advance to the Conference Finals.
The Texas Stars swept Oklahoma City in the first round in a much closer series than Toronto had. Their series with Grand Rapids went to 6 games. Texas jumped out to a 2-0 series lead, only to let Grand Rapids tie it up, winning games 3 and 4. But Texas showed why they finished the season with the best record in the league. They dug back and won the next two games. They have shown resilience throughout this postseason so far.
These two teams have both been impressive. They finished atop their respective divisions and the Conference Finals are sure to be fun to watch. Toronto has been off since Friday and Texas finished on Sunday. Both teams will have time to rest before the Conference Finals get underway on Friday.