TORONTO -- It may have had absolutely no bearing on the overall standings but for the Toronto Marlies and St. John's IceCaps still had something to play for.
Dylan Yeo scored the shootout winner as the Toronto Marlies beat the St. John's IceCaps 4-3 in the AHL regular-season finale for both clubs.
The Marlies -- who had already clinched first in the AHL's North division -- rested most of their regulars and gave some younger players a chance to prove themselves in advance of Toronto's playoff run.
"That's going to be really important with the (NHL parent club) Leafs getting into the playoffs," said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins of being able to get the players deeper down on the depth chart playing time. "What happens here is if the Leafs get two injuries and we get one, we lose three guys so we need to have a whole bunch of guys ready."
Toronto will host Game 1 of their best-of-five series with the Rochester Americans on April 27.
Ryan Lasch had two goals and Tyler Biggs also scored in regulation for the Marlies (43-23-10), who will finish second in Western Conference.
Josh Lunden scored twice on the power play for St. John's (32-36-8), while Ben Maxwell also had one. The IceCaps will finish last in the Atlantic Division.
St. John's was eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago but, as is always the case in the AHL, players always try to make their case for next season -- either with Winnipeg Jets organization or another one.
"There's some really good character from the older leadership group in that room that helps drive that on the ice," said IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge. "It's not where we want to be on the outside of the playoff picture but definitely I've been impressed with the effort down the stretch."
Biggs got his first professional goal 8:50 into the first period when he picked up a rebound on a Will Acton shot and fired in a open net with Mark Dekanich out of position from the initial save.
Lunden got his first power-play goal of the night at 13:29 when Josh Leivo was in the box for a boarding penalty.
Toronto re-took the lead at 6:47 of the second when Simon Gysbers' had his shot from the left point deflected by Lasch.
"I didn't think I got it," Lasch admitted. "I knew something hit my stick. I didn't know it was the puck. I thought it was the defenceman's stick but it went in but it's good for us to kind of get that confidence going with our power play after that one.
Lunden tied it again at 15:40 of the second as Zach Redmond took a low shot from the left point and Lunden deflected it past goalie Garret Sparks.
The IceCaps took their first lead of the night just over three minutes later when Lunden led an odd-man rush into the Marlies zone. From the right side Lunden dished to centre Maxime Macenauer who then passed it over to Maxwell for the quick high shot that beat Sparks.
The Marlies forced overtime by capitalizing on a power play at 13:31. An attempted IceCaps clearance was deflected by Jerry D'Amigo towards the front of the goal where Lasch snapped it in.
As the game came to and end, the Marlies were still awaiting who their opponent in the first round would be and though he was rather impatient to see which team they would face, it didn't matter to Eakins who it is.
"It doesn't matter who you play, what rink it's in, you're going to have to win hockey games," said Eakins. "For us, I don't care. I just want to know tonight who we're playing as fast as possible so I can start preparing in my head."
Sparks made 20 saves for Toronto while Dekanich made 25 for St. John's.