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2023 Calder Cup Playoffs

Calder Cup North Division Semifinals Preview: Toronto Marlies vs. Utica Comets

Calder Cup North Division Semifinals Preview: Toronto Marlies vs. Utica Comets

TORONTO – The second round of the AHL playoffs heats up on Thursday when the Toronto Marlies take on the Utica Comets in a North Divison bout bound to go the distance, be filled with drama, and the occasional unexpected turn.

Regular Season Records:

Toronto  – 42-24-4-2 (1st in North)

Utica – 35-27-6-4 (4th in North)

How did they get here:

While the Toronto Marlies were busy taking in a few Maple Leafs games, the Comets faced off against the Rocket in a series that finished in overtime heroics in game two. The Comets easily took game one and scored with two seconds left in the third period of game two to tie it, eventually taking it in extras.

Series Schedule:

Thursday, April 27: Utica at TORONTO – 7:00 p.m. EDT

Saturday, April 29: Utica at TORONTO – 4:00 p.m. EDT

Wednesday, May 3: Toronto at UTICA – 7:00 p.m. EDT

Friday, May 5: Toronto at UTICA – 7:00 p.m. EDT

Sunday, May 7: Utica at TORONTO – 4:00 p.m. EDT

Season Series:

The season series showed almost all Toronto; the Comets lost their first four games by one goal against Toronto. After losing one more, they got revenge by totaling the Marlies 5-0 to close out the season series on April 5.

This was the Comets’ first true taste of a team that was gutted due to playoff ambitions from their parent club.

Beauce of that lack of players available to Toronto, Utica will be shooting on Keith Petruzzelli, who, in his one start against Utica, stopped 33 of 34 shots directed his way en route to a 3-1 decision.

While Nico Daws carries a 1-3 record on the season, he holds a 2.03 GAA and a .926 SVS facing the Marlies this year.

How Utica Wins: 

Turn on the taps to start. Toronto is expected to come out of this one slow out of the gate following an 11-day delay.

If I were Utica’s coach, I would be looking at their third period and overtime of game two against Laval, where I hate to say they didn’t play strong defense and won. There was something to be said about their plan of wolf-packing the goaltender until he stood down.

How Toronto Wins: 

Play your own game. This Utica team was able to manipulate the Rocket in a lot of ways that left them getting frustrated and in their own heads. I would try to force the puck your way for entries and go back to the basics. 

Maybe this 11-day break is enough R&R to get Utica gassed in the opening game. While the break-in time is pretty significant, this team went through the wringer against Laval in many ways and capitalized on that.

Download the Field Pass Hockey app from the iTunes or Google Play stores or follow @FieldPassHockey on Twitter for the latest news on the AHL, ECHL, and SPHL throughout the 2023 season!

    Zack Power covers the Toronto Marlies for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHMarlies.

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