Stellar Showing to Start Series
The Toronto Marlies started the Eastern Conference Finals with a solid showing on home ice, defeating the Lehigh Phantoms by a 4-3 final to strike first in the third-round series.
Miro Aaltonen scored a pair in the first before the Phantoms fought back to take a 3-2 lead, setting the stage for a come-from-behind win powered by goals from Ben Smith and Adam Brooks and a 26-save performance by Garret Sparks.
Aaltonen opened the scoring on the power play, picking a spot in the slot and redirecting a hard pass by Andreas Johnsson for his second of the playoffs. Timothy Liljegren had the secondary assist.
Five minutes later, Johnsson and Aaltonen connected again as Johnsson fed a nice pass to lead Aaltonen away from his man, and he made no mistake slipping a shot five-hole to put the Marlies up two.
Penalty trouble proved costly for the Marlies late in the first, as Philippe Myers converted on a power play to close the lead to 2-1 at the intermission.
Lehigh Valley tied the game just 35 seconds into the middle frame as Tyrell Goulbourne capitalized on an odd-man rush.
Chris Conner scored midway through the period to put the Phantoms ahead for the first time of the game, but Ben Smith responded just minutes later to tie things up. Smith drove hard to the net and deflected a Chris Mueller shot upstairs. Dmytro Timashov had the secondary assist.
Brooks broke the tie in the third, collecting a pass at the top of the circle and firing a laser upstairs for his second of the postseason to earn the game winner. Mason Marchment and Trevor Moore assisted on the goal.
Sparks stood tall to hold off a late Lehigh Valley attack and the Marlies watched the clock tick down to zero as they earn the victory to start the series.
There’s not much of a break for either side as they face off again tomorrow at Ricoh Coliseum before the series shifts to Allentown.
Lehigh Valley: P. Myers (3) PP (C. McDonald, M. Vecchione), T. Goulbourne (2) (C. Knight, T. Sanheim), C. Conner (5) (P. Myers)
Goaltender: A. Lyon (28/32)
Toronto: M. Aaltonen (2) PP (A. Johnsson, T. Liljegren), M. Aaltonen (3) (A. Johnsson), B. Smith (2) (C. Mueller, D. Timashov), A. Brooks (2) (T. Moore, M. Marchment)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (26/29)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Miro Aaltonen opened the scoring on the power play at 6:44 and scored his second of the game at 12:03, both in the first period. Aaltonen has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Ben Smith scored at 16:24 of the second period. Smith has eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Adam Brooks scored the game-winning goal at 3:18 of the third period. Brooks has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) through 10 games this postseason.
- Andreas Johnsson recorded the primary assists on both of Aaltonen’s first period goals. Johnsson is tied for the Marlies-lead with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) through six games this postseason.
- Timothy Liljegren registered the secondary assist on Aaltonen’s first period power play goal. He has three assists through 10 games this postseason.
- Chris Mueller had the primary assist on Smith’s second period goal. Mueller has eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Dmytro Timashov recorded the secondary assist on Smith’s second period goal. Timashov has eight points (5 goals, 3 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Trevor Moore registered the primary assist on Brooks’ third period goal. Moore is tied for the Marlies-lead with 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Mason Marchment had the secondary assist on Brooks’ game-winner in the third period. Marchment has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Garret Sparks stopped 26 of 29 shots he faced against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Sparks is now 7-2 in the playoffs with a .917 Save Percentage and a 2.31 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto went 2-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-2 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 32-29 edge in shots in all situations.
- Justin Holl led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
Goals: D. Timashov (5)
Assists: A. Johnsson, T. Moore (7)
Points: A. Johnsson, T. Moore (10)
PPG: D. Timashov (4)
Shots: C. Greening (33)
+/-: V. LoVerde (+8)
PIMS: T. Dermott (16)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On giving up the lead in today’s game:
We’re obviously not happy that we gave up our lead in the second period there. But we got a huge goal just before we go in for the intermission and that gives us an opportunity to feel better about ourselves and I thought for the most part we played a really good third. Once we had that lead, I thought we took care of it really well.
On the rookies’ impact on the game:
Yea you know what this series is going to be a four-line series. They are a very deep team, the Utica team we played was deep but this is a deeper group, they are going to use everybody and we are going to need to use everybody if we are going to be able to play at a high level all of the way through. I thought the Brooks line gave us some really good shifts and got better as they game went on. Obviously, Brooks scored us a huge goal. They were able to play consistently through the third period for us and that really helped our cause so we are going to need more of that.
On his game-tying goal:
That was big. Our line had a turnover and they scored on us early in that period and then they were able to get that power play goal. It would have been a different game going into the third down a goal. A big goal, nice play by my linemates. I was just there to deflect it in.
On the transition from the Marlies to the Maple Leafs and back to the Marlies:
These guys make it easy. It’s good playing with this team we have, the players we have. We feel like we’re bringing it every day. With the days off that we had, we were working hard on the ice, a couple of days off and then building back into game form. It worked out. A couple of the boys were hurting a bit in the first period, some heavy legs, but we battled through and it was a good win.
May 20 vs Lehigh Valley – 4:00 p.m. ET
May 23 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
May 25 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
*May 26 at Lehigh Valley – 7:05 p.m. ET
*May 28 vs Lehigh Valley – 7:00 p.m. ET
*May 30 vs Lehigh Valley – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies hit the ice Saturday for the first time since sweeping Syracuse in their second-round series, as they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Both teams have been off for at least a week since last playing, with the Marlies sweeping the Crunch and the Phantoms beating the Charlotte Checkers in five games in the previous round.
It’s the first meeting between the Marlies and Phantoms since January, a come-from-behind shootout victory for Toronto. The Marlies swept the two-game season series, outscoring the Phantoms 8-3 over a pair of games.
Trevor Moore scored twice in the season series and leads the Marlies in scoring throughout the playoffs, collecting three goals and six assists in nine games played.
Andreas Johnsson is producing at above a point-per-game, with eight points (3G, 5A) in five games. Five different Marlies have recorded seven points this postseason, including Dmytro Timashov who leads the team with five goals.
At the other end, Chris Conner leads the Phantoms with eight points (4G, 4A) in nine games played. Oskar Lindblom and Danick Martel also have four goals to tie for the Lehigh Valley team lead.
Puck drop for today’s game is scheduled for 4:00 PM. Fans can tune in on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, AHL Live and TSN 1050 Radio.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage, as well as live updates from Ricoh Coliseum.
Head to Head (2018 Playoffs)