Frederik Gauthier provided the double overtime heroics on Saturday night as he scored in the 95th minute of play to send the Marlies to Syracuse holding a 2-0 series lead.
The goal came on the Marlies’ 57th shot of the game, ending a goaltender duel between Garret Sparks and Syracuse’s Connor Ingram. Sparks made 46 saves for his fifth win of the postseason while Ingram stopped 55 in the losing effort.
It was a game that saw momentum swings and good chances at both ends, but the goaltenders stole the show for much of the game.
Matthew Peca broke the scoreless tie midway through the second period, scoring on a 2-on-1 for Syracuse.
That would prove to be the only one Sparks allowed, as he made one stunning save after another throughout Saturday’s contest.
Mason Marchment tied the game for Toronto less than seven minutes into the third, connecting on a one-timer after a great second effort by Trevor Moore to recover his own rebound and find Marchment in the slot.
The two teams headed to overtime tied 1-1 despite the Marlies holding a 39-28 edge in shots at the time.
Throughout the opening overtime period, the Marlies maintained the pressure despite having to kill off a penalty five minutes into the extra frame. They outshot the Crunch 12-7 in that period, before Syracuse swung momentum back their way in the second overtime period.
Toronto was again forced to kill off a penalty in the second extra frame and Sparks made 12 stops in that period alone before Gauthier’s incredible game winner, off the crossbar from his knees.
With the victory, the Marlies take a 2-0 series lead over Syracuse heading into Game 3 on Sunday.
Syracuse: M. Peca (3) (M. Stephens)
Goaltender: C. Ingram (55/57)
Toronto: M. Marchment (2) (T. Moore), F. Gauthier (1) (P. Engvall)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (46/47)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
Mason Marchment scored at 6:52 of the third period. Marchment has three points (2 goals, 1 assist) through seven games this postseason.
Frederik Gauthier scored his first goal of the postseason in overtime at 15:10 of the second overtime. Gauthier has six points (1 goal, 5 assist) through seven games this postseason.
Trevor Moore had the lone assist on Marchment’s third period goal. Moore leads the Marlies with seven points (1 goal, 6 assists) through seven games this postseason.
Pierre Engvall had the lone assist on Gauthier’s overtime goal. Engvall has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) through seven games this postseason.
Garret Sparks stopped 46 of 47 shots he faced against the Syracuse Crunch. Sparks is now 5-2 in the playoffs with a .897 Save Percentage and a 2.90 Goals Against Average.
Toronto went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-5 on the power play.
Toronto had a 57-47 edge in shots in all situations.
Carl Grundström led the Marlies with seven shots on goal.
Goals: D. Timashov (4) Assists: M. Marincin (6), T. Moore (6) Points: T. Moore (7) PPG: D. Timashov (3) Shots: C. Greening (28) +/-: V. LoVerde (+6) PIMS: C. Greening, M. Marchment (8)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On today’s game:
These types of games you need people to step up and we had many people at different times that did their part. First of all to get us into overtime, get the big goal. When you play this long in such a fast and competitive game against a good team, it takes a very high level of mental toughness and personal discipline and fitness and all of those types of things. So, I’m just really proud of our group for playing the way that they did and digging in the way they did.
On how the team will rally for Sunday’s game:
I don’t think we need to. Emotions are high and guys know how competitive and how tight the series is. We have taken care of home ice here. Obviously, the greatest challenge in the series is winning on the road. That was a challenge for us last series as well. We have plenty of reasons to be motivated and competitive. Obviously, the biggest thing for us here is just to take care of the guys and get them the nutrition and recovery that they need to play a game of this calibre again tomorrow.
On momentum swings in the game:
That’s just the way the games have been against them this season. They are a team that thrives in transition and they have the speed to do so and we think we do as well. So, any time a loose puck comes available and a team counters the other way it can tilt the rink al little bit for a few shifts and it takes some time to get it back. Obviously, the first period really went their way but I thought that the second, third, and first overtime, we were quite strong and deserved a lot more than we got offensively but that was a good hockey game by two good teams.
May 6 at Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
May 8 at Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
*May 12 vs Toronto – 4:00 p.m. ET
*May 14 at Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
*May 16 vs Syracuse – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies will look to extend their second round series lead on Saturday when they host the Syracuse Crunch at Ricoh Coliseum.
The Marlies opened the series with a 6-4 victory on Thursday, with the scoring spread around to six different players. Travis Dermott, Adam Brooks, Ben Smith and Mason Marchment all notched their first goals of the postseason in that game.
Power play success will again be important for the Marlies after converting twice on Thursday. Syracuse’s penalty kill has given up a goal on 25% of chances throughout the playoffs, so the Marlies will need to continue making the most of those opportunities. Throughout the postseason, the Marlies have converted 22.9% of the time on the man advantage.
Dmytro Timashov continues to lead the Marlies in scoring enter Saturday’s game, with four goals and two assists in six games so far. Trevor Moore (1G, 5A) and Martin Marincin (0G, 6A) are tied with Timashov for the team lead in points.
Syracuse may be without leading scorer Matthew Peca for a second straight game, so the attention will shift to rookie Mathieu Joseph, who has seven points (3G, 4A) in four games played.
Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 PM and fans can tune in on Leafs Nation Network, TSN Radio 1050 or AHL Live.