Powerful Performance Over Phantoms
The Toronto Marlies turned in a powerful performance against the Phantoms on Wednesday night, blanking Lehigh Valley in a 5-0 victory to take a 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Carl Grundstrom got the scoring started early as the Marlies struck first just one minute into the contest. Grundstrom found himself all alone in the crease and tapped in an easy redirect after a feed from Andreas Johnsson.
That would be the only goal of the opening frame despite the Marlies outshooting the Phantoms 11-3 in the first.
Johnsson added a goal of his own in the second, trying a wraparound that was stopped by Alex Lyon but scrambling to poke home the loose puck off the rebound. Miro Aaltonen had the assist on Johnsson’s fourth of the playoffs.
Past the midway mark of the middle frame, Mason Marchment fired the rebound off a Adam Brooks shot upstairs to extend the lead after a great cycle in the offensive zone. Trevor Moore had the secondary assist on the goal, his ninth this postseason.
Midway through the third, Lyon was given a match penalty for kicking and Dustin Tokarski entered the net for Lehigh Valley.
On the ensuing power play, Ben Smith scored off the rebound after Dmytro Timashov rang a shot off the post. Chris Mueller had the second assist.
A minute and a half later, Smith scored his second of the power play to put things out of reach as the Marlies skated to the five-goal win. Travis Dermott and Colin Greening had the helpers on that one.
Garret Sparks earned his second shutout of the postseason, stopping all 16 shots he faced in the contest. Sparks has now stopped 77 of 82 shots this round.
Game four of the series goes Friday night in Lehigh Valley and fans can catch the action on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, TSN 1050 Radio and AHL Live.
Toronto: C. Grundström (6) (A. Johnsson), A. Johnsson (4) (M. Aaltonen, C. Grundström), M. Marchment (3) (A. Brooks, T. Moore), B. Smith (4) PP (D. Timashov, C. Mueller), B. Smith (5) PP (C. Greening, T. Dermott)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (16/16)
Lehigh Valley: No goals
Goaltender: A. Lyon (23/26), D. Tokarski (6/8)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Carl Grundström opened the scoring at 1:01 of the first period and later add the secondary assist on Johnsson’s second period goal. Grundström is tied for the AHL-lead with six goals through 12 games this postseason. This was Grundström’s third game-winning goal of the postseason.
- Andreas Johnsson scored at 4:50 of the second period and earlier had the lone assist on Grundström’s first period goal. Johnsson leads the Marlies and is tied for second in the League overall with 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) through eight games this postseason.
- Mason Marchment scored at 12:32 of the second period. Marchment has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Ben Smith scored on the power play at 11:08 and 12:29 of the third period. This was Smith’s second and third power play goals this postseason. Smith has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Miro Aaltonen recorded the primary assist on Johnsson’s second period goal. Aaltonen has nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Adam Brooks registered the primary assist on Marchment’s third period goal. Brooks has four points (2 goals, 2 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Trevor Moore had the secondary assist on Marchment’s third period goal. Moore has 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Dmytro Timashov recorded the primary assist on Smith’s first third period power play goal. Timashov has nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Chris Mueller registered the secondary assist on Smith’s first third period power play goal. Mueller has nine points (2 goals, 7 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Colin Greening had the primary assist on Smith’s second third period power play goal. Greening has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) through 12 games this postseason.
- Travis Dermott recorded the secondary assist on Smith’s second period power play goal. Dermott has three points (1 goal, 2 assists) through eight games this postseason.
- Garret Sparks stopped all 16 shots he faced against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for his second shutout of the postseason. Sparks is now 9-2 in the playoffs with a .925 Save Percentage and a 2.04 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and 2-for-5 on the power play.
- Toronto had a 34-16 edge in shots in all situations.
- Travis Dermott and Mason Marchment led the Marlies with five shots on goal.
Goals: C. Grundström (6)
Assists: A. Johnsson, T. Moore (9)
Points: A. Johnsson (13)
PPG: D. Timashov (4)
Shots: C. Greening (39)
+/-: V. LoVerde (+12)
PIMS: T. Dermott (18)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On whether Toronto’s played as complete a game:
Obviously the first five minutes of the second period weren’t very good for us, we were pretty casual there but we got a huge goal to sort of relieve that pressure and we got back to playing and took the wind out of their sails a little bit too at the same time which is really what we were hoping to do here on the road which was not give them much opportunity to be good and not much opportunity to build life, build energy, build the energy of the crowd. Full marks for our guys, it was a pretty great effort.
On the Brooks line (Mason Marchment, Adam Brooks, Trevor Moore):
They were outstanding, outstanding. I thought (Lehigh Valley) just had a really hard time handling them any time they were on the ice, That’s just a good sign for our team. We’ve got four lines that we just rolled, pretty well the entire night. When we’ve got four lines like that and everybody’s on the same page and playing with purpose, it doesn’t give the other team much opportunity to get going.
On Toronto scoring first:
It was huge. It was a good start for us, that’s what we’re looking for here. They’re a good team so for us to come out like that, it was big for us. We knew they’d have push there, starting the second period but we were able to weather that.
On Lehigh Valley’s speed:
They’re a dangerous team when they get their speed. They’re able to chip pucks in behind us and skate into them and they’re dangerous offensively so we have to be careful. We have to keep guys above them, try not to get too eager there on the offensive side of the puck
On whether Game 3 was a complete game for Toronto:
I don’t know if I’d say complete. I think we had a couple of shifts where we didn’t really bring it. I think Sparksy held us in and just some good defensive collapsing, just making sure we’re not giving them too much run on the net but I think some shifts they did bring it to us where we weren’t too happy with our game but I think we rebounded really well which was the big thing for us. It was very important to rebound. If we let them bring it in their home barn then they’d get some support and maybe they’d get some more momentum so it was good that we shut them off quick whenever they got a couple of chances.
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
As the Eastern Conference Finals turn to Lehigh Valley, the American Hockey League’s best road team and home team from the regular season will clash on Wednesday night.
The Marlies hold a 2-0 series lead after taking the first two games in Toronto. Lehigh Valley will look to defend home ice after posting the league’s best home record during the regular season, winning 27 of 38 games. Throughout the playoffs, the Phantoms have won three of four games at the PPL Center, losing one to Charlotte last round.
Toronto come to Allentown after seeing a league record for most road wins in a season, finishing at 30-5-1-2. In their second round series, Toronto won both games in Syracuse and are 2-2 on the road so far during the postseason.
Miro Aaltonen will look to continue his strong offensive performance this series as he scored three times in the first two games, including the overtime winner on Sunday. Andreas Johnsson has recorded an assist on each of Aaltonen’s goals and now has 11 points (3G, 8A) in just seven playoff games.
Johnsson is tied with Trevor Moore for the team lead in points while Dmytro Timashov and Carl Grundstrom have lit the lamp the most, with five goals apiece.
At the other end, Chris Conner leads Lehigh Valley in goals (5) and points (9).
Staying out of the box will be a key for both sides as both teams have turned in strong performances on the power play, with Toronto firing at 28.6% and Lehigh Valley converting on 33.3% of power play chances.
Puck drop for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:05 and fans can tune in on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, TSN 1050 Radio and AHL Live.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage, as well as live updates from PPL Center.
Head to Head (2018 Playoffs)