TORONTO MARLIES WIN 2018 CALDER CUPJun 15, 2018
TORONTO … The Marlies have brought a professional hockey championship to Toronto.
Andreas Johnsson and Mason Marchment each scored twice and Garret Sparks made 29 saves as the Marlies defeated the Texas Stars, 6-1, to win their first Calder Cup and capture the first men’s pro hockey title in the city since 1967.
It was the first Game 7 in a Calder Cup Finals since 2003.
Johnsson, who finished with three points in Game 7, won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the most valuable player of the Calder Cup Playoffs. A 2013 draft choice by the Toronto Maple Leafs, Johnsson totaled 10 goals and 14 assists for a league-leading 24 points in 16 playoff appearances for the Marlies.
Carl Grundstrom and captain Ben Smith also scored for Toronto, which won 69 of 96 games over the 2017-18 regular season and playoffs, one of the most prolific seasons in AHL history. Under head coach Sheldon Keefe, the Marlies – top development team of the NHL’s Maple Leafs – finished with the best record in the league during the regular season and then defeated the Utica Comets (3-2), Syracuse Crunch (4-0) and Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-0) before eliminating Texas in seven games in the Finals.
At 37, Keefe is the youngest head coach to win the Calder Cup since Todd McLellan with the Houston Aeros in 2003.
Attendance at Ricoh Coliseum on Thursday night was 8,818, the seventh consecutive sellout of the Finals and the largest crowd ever for a Marlies game there. A total of 6,961,349 fans attended AHL games in 2017-18, the third-highest total in league history.
Toronto’s victory brings an end to the AHL’s 82nd season. In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 31 National Hockey League teams. More than 87 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and more than 100 honored members of the Hockey Hall of Fame spent time in the AHL in their careers.