And just like that, hockey season is officially over. The Toronto Marlies, AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, finished off the last of the major North American hockey leagues with a Game Seven win over the Texas Stars, AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, to win the Calder Cup. The Marlies controlled the game and held a 3-0 lead late into the third before a flurry of action produced a 6-1 final.
This is the first Toronto hockey championship since 1967 and could be a positive sign of things to come for the Maple Leafs. It also marks a strong start to Kyle Dubas’ tenure as GM in Toronto, as the young executive has long had oversight over the Marlies.
Leading the top performers for Toronto was Playoff MVP Andreas Johnsson, who posted 24 points in 16 games and showed no fatigue after skating with the Maple Leafs in Round One. Goaltender Garret Sparks was also electric all spring, including several clutch saves in the deciding Game Seven. Not to be forgotten is captain Ben Smith, who now adds a Calder Cup title to his Stanley Cup win with the Chicago Blackhawks and NCAA Championship with Boston College.
A big win for the city of Toronto will surely be met with much excitement and the Marlies deserve every bit of the spotlight. However, the expectations are now higher than ever for the Maple Leafs to follow suit with a Stanley Cup in the coming years.