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Don’t Count the Marlies Out Yet

Posted May 23, 2016

(via the Bears)

There is no doubt that the Hershey Bears are a great team, dominating the league for long enough to say that they’re one of the best teams in the AHL. So it’s no surprise that they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, nor is it surprising that they’ve already won the first two games in the series.

The Toronto Marlies historically haven’t been as great, having never won the Calder Cup (while Hershey has eleven times!) and only in recent years have they had any real consistency. That’s not to say they aren’t a threat – the Marlies managed to lead the league this season, and they haven’t slowed down all that much against the Bears in the playoffs.

Lined up, both teams are hard working, talented, and have what it takes to win. During the regular season, they each led their divisions and have pretty similar records. They haven’t played each other often in the past, usually skipping a season or two between meetings, so this match up is all the more interesting with the AHL’s format.

After two games, Hershey leads by 2, their second win coming in overtime after both teams battled hard. The next game will come after a three day rest and a trip to Toronto to face the Marlies on their home ice.

The significance of home ice is debatable, but it might be worth noting that both teams generally do better at home. For Hershey, the significance is more clear – with 24 of their 43 wins and only 7 regulation losses coming from home versus 19 wins and 14 losses on the road, while the Marlies have played it nearly even, going 27 wins home and away, with only 11 total losses at home, 9 of them in regulation, tipping the odds for them as well.

In the end, it’s more about how they play than where they play. While it looks good for the Bears so far, it would be dangerous to count the Marlies out so soon – the team is known for making a big comeback.

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