The Adirondack Flames playoff hopes are on the brink after a disappointing 7-4 loss to Toronto Tuesday night. The Flames outshot the Marlies 40-24, but were victimized by four power play goals - three in the first period.
As is the case at this time of year for all minor league teams - there is a flux in the roster. This is certainly the case for the Flames. Last night, there were four ATOs in the lineup, including a goaltender that finished the contest. This, combined with three players brought up from the ECHL in the last month has this roster looking very different than one that was on the ice in mid February. There are no excuses here - just the facts of the matter.
Adirondack now finds themselves in a place where they likely need to win out, and require significant help from others to make the post season - and their remaining games are against strong squads. So, what are some silver linings as we approach the final 10 days of the regular season:
Kenny Agostino - Agostino has been on fire of late. He had a goal and assist last night and has three goals and five assists in the last four games. Combine this with five goals and nine assists in March - he has shown the organization the type of player he can be at this level, and it will be interesting to see where he lands following training camp next fall.
Emile Poirier - Poirier had three assists last night and has also settled back in since returning to Adirondack. He has two goals and six assists in four games in April - but still can be streaky at times. During a recent game against Oklahoma City, Poirier got off his game and was ineffective - taking 18 PIM and played far our of character. The talented forward needs to work on more consistency as he matures as a pro.
Bill Arnold - I really like this guy's game. He has a great combination of grit and skill and has been strong since returning from a significant injury. He has two goals and four assists in the four games in April. When Arnold was out of the line up, there was a visible void in the team's character and toughness. He is not a dirty player (only 28 PIM this season), but rather one that is very difficult to play against.
Max Reinhart - The talented forward's play has been solid all season, but has he has taken it up a notch in the last several weeks. He has five goals and eight assists in the last five games - and many of us wonder why he was not called up to Calgary.
Turner Elson - Elson is a leader on the ice, and his skating and the pressure that he puts on opponents sets a tone for the entire team. I don't know if he will be a career AHL level player or if he will make it onto the fourth line in Calgary, but keep an eye on him. He has taken the tougher road to this point - as an ATO signing in 2012 and spending a significant amount of time in the ECHL until this season. Elson clearly has great work ethic and leadership, plays well in all areas of the ice, and can add to the score sheet.
Trevor Gillies - I am sure many are wondering why have have included Gillies in this list. Locally, we have seen first hand how Gillies has influenced the young players on this team. You don't get to be a professional until the age of 36 without a great work ethic and dedication to the game itself. Many of us have seen how Gillies has spent time on and more importantly off the ice with the younger players, teaching them the full responsibilities of being a successful professional. My opinion is that his mentoring will have a very positive impact on the careers of several of the Flames prospects he spent time with this season.
The Flames are back on the ice in Utica Friday night, then return home for Saturday night and Sunday afternoon games against Lake Erie. They close the regular season the following weekend with an away game at Syracuse followed by home games against Utica and Rochester.