On Wednesday the Toronto Marlies dropped the first game of their best-of-seven North Division Final matchup against the Albany Devils by a score of 2-1.

Defenceman Connor Carrick had the only goal for Toronto, his fourth of the Calder Cup playoffs. Garret Sparks took the loss in net, stopping 27 of 29 shots.

The Marlies were missing William Nylander due to illness. In addition, defenceman Andrew Campbell, will miss the series with a lower-body injury.

“We knew it was going to be close all the way through,” Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe said. “The margin of error is quite small. Their team doesn’t give up much. They were the best defensive team in the league all year for a reason.”

Marlies forward Brendan Leipsic had a strong outing, despite being held pointless. On a late period shift, Leipsic broke his stick, immediately retreated to the bench for a new one, then re-entered the zone, weaving away around the Albany defenders for a scoring chance.

“Everybody kind of came out to a hot start. It was a fast-paced game,” Leipsic said. “They kind of like to trap it up a little bit, try to slow us down. So, trying to get through the neutral zone was an issue in the first period, but I thought as the game went along, we got a little bit better.”

Game Two is Friday night at Ricoh Coliseum.