Tonight is the first Calder Cup playoff game for the San Antonio Rampage in five years ...Hobey Baker Award Winner Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik will make their debut less than a week after they were playing in the Frozen Four … The Rampage (42-28-3-7, 94 points) are making their second trip ever to the Calder Cup Playoffs with the most wins and points in a single-season in franchise history … They finished fifth in the AHL West Division, and crossed to the North Division bracket by virtue of earning more points than the fourth-place team (Hamilton) in the North … The Rampage finished with 19 wins away from the AT&T Center, their most road wins ever in a single season … The previous postseason visit came in 2003 for the Rampage … They were swept in a best-of-three series by the Norfolk Admirals in the first round.
AGAINST THE MARLIES: Tonight is Game 1 of the best-of-seven North Division Semifinal between the Rampage and the Toronto Marlies … The Rampage went 1-0-0-1 against Toronto this season… They remained unbeaten all-time against the Toronto Maple Leafs’ affiliate, sporting a 4-0-0-2 record … Bryan Helmer played in his 1,000th game on January 20, the first meeting between the two teams this season … The Marlies finished the season 50-21-3-6 (109 points) atop the North Division and second in the Western Conference … David Spina and Phil Oreskovic lead their respective teams with two points in the season-series … Each team took a victory on the other’s home ice in their two contests in 2007-08.
SERIES NOTEBOOK: Either Toronto or San Antonio will capture its first-ever Calder Cup Playoff series win in this match-up of teams making their second all-time postseason appearances... The North Division champion Marlies put up 109 points this season, the most ever by a Toronto Maple Leafs affiliate... In its only previous postseason appearance, Toronto was eliminated in the 2006 division semis by a Grand Rapids team coached by current Rampage bench boss Greg Ireland... San Antonio, which was swept in the first round by Norfolk in 2003, has yet to win a playoff game in its history... San Antonio’s roster contains former Calder Cup champions Joey Tenute (2006), Travis Roche (2003) and Bryan Helmer (1995), while Matt Murley reached the Calder Cup Finals in 2004... Marlies defenseman Derrick Walser won the Calder Cup with Saint John in 2001.
THE LAST TIME VS TORONTO: Last Home Win: November 4, 2006 (4-3) Last Home Loss: None Last Home Tie/SOL: January 20, 2008 (2-1, SO) Last Home Overtime Loss: None Last Road Win: February 6, 2008 (4-2) Last Road Loss: None Last Road Tie/SOL: February 4, 2006 (2-1) Last Road Overtime Loss: None
WHAT IS A MARLIE, YOU ASK? The team is named after the former Toronto Marlboroughs junior hockey team, but the abbreviated "Marlies" name was chosen to avoid any potential association with the similarly named cigarette brand (source: Wikipedia).