Thrilling Third Gives Marlies Game 1 Win
The Toronto Marlies and Texas Stars combined for 11 goals on Saturday, marking the highest scoring opening Calder Cup Finals game since 1990.
A thrilling third period charge helped the Marlies score three times as they finished with a 6-5 victory to open the series.
Travis Morin opened the scoring for Texas just over six minutes into the game. Entering Saturday, the Stars were 8-0 when scoring first throughout the postseason.
Justin Holl had the response for Toronto, kicking off a back-and-forth fight that lasted through the final whistle. Holl collected his own response in the corner and threw the puck at the net, deflecting it off a Texas defender and in.
The Stars reclaimed the lead before the intermission on a Curtis McKenzie power play goal.
The score remained unchanged until midway through the second when Frederik Gauthier notched his second of the playoffs, sneaking down into the slot and connecting on a one-timer after a great pass from Colin Greening behind the net.
38 seconds later, Austin Fyten put Texas back in front and Morin added his second of the night with under three minutes remaining in the second to double the lead.
With just 15 seconds remaining in the middle frame, Chris Mueller deflected a Ben Smith shot out of the corner to cut the deficit to one heading into the third.
Mason Marchment tied things up less than three minutes into the final frame, taking a drop pass at the top of the circle and finding the net with a hard wrist shot. Greening and LoVerde had assists on that.
Two minutes later, Martin Marincin found himself all alone in the slot and went upstairs with a second chance shot to give the Marlies their first lead of the night.
Just 1:15 after that, Justin Dowling drew Texas back even, tying the game 5-5.
As the clock passed the midway mark of the third, Trevor Moore buried the game winner on the power play after racing back from the bench to collect a new stick. He took a one-time pass from Mueller and fired a blast to give the Marlies the 6-5 lead and eventual win.
The victory gives Marlies ten straight stretching back to the first round, while Garret Sparks collected his eleventh win of the postseason, making 32 saves for Toronto.
Mike McKenna had 28 saves in the loss for Texas.
Special teams proved to be important in the game tonight as both Texas’ first period goals came on the power play, as did Moore’s winner.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM before departing for Cedar Park where Game 3 will go on Tuesday.
Texas: T. Morin (5) PP (C. McKenzie, J. Dowling), C. McKenzie (7) PP (B. Regner, M. McKenna), A. Fyten (2) (M. Mangene, D. Heatherington), T. Morin (6) (J. Dowling), J. Dowling (3) (T. Morin, J. Nyberg)
Goaltender: M. McKenna (28/34)
Toronto: J. Holl (2) (Unassisted), F. Gauthier (2) (C. Greening), C. Mueller (6) (B. Smith, D. Timashov), M. Marchment (4) (C. Greening, V. LoVerde), M. Marincin (1) (D. Timashov, C. Mueller), T. Moore (5) PP (C. Mueller, C. Rosen)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (32/37)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Justin Holl scored unassisted at 8:32 of the first period. Holl has three points (2 goals, 1 assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Frederik Gauthier scored 10:57 of the second period. Gauthier has eight points (2 goals, 6 assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Chris Mueller scored at 19:45 of the second period. In the third period, Mueller had the secondary assist on Marincin’s goal and the primary assist on Moore’s goal. Muelller has 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Mueller has recorded a point (2 goals, 3 assists) in three straight games.
- Mason Marchment scored at 2:46 of the third period. Marchment has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Martin Marincin scored his first goal of the postseason at 4:55 of the third period. Marcinin has seven points (1 goal, six assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Trevor Moore scored on the power play at 10:03 of the third period. Moore has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) through 14 games this postseason. Moore has recorded a point (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last four games.
- Colin Greening had the lone assist on Gauthier’s second period goal. Greening has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Ben Smith registered the primary assist on Mueller’s second period goal. Smith has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) through 14 games this postseason. Smith has recorded a point (4 goals, 3 assists) in his last five games.
- Dmytro Timashov recorded the secondary assist on Mueller’s second period goal and the primary assist on Marincin’s third period goal. Timashov has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) through 14 games this postseason.
- Vincent LoVerde registered the secondary assist on Marchment’s third period goal. LoVerde has two assists through 14 games this postseason.
- Calle Rosen had the secondary assist on Moore’s power play goal. Rosen has six points (1 goal, 5 assists) through 10 games this postseason.
- Garret Sparks stopped 32 of 37 shots he faced against the Texas Stars. Sparks is now 11-2 in the playoffs with a .920 Save Percentage and a 2.19 Goals Against Average.
- This is the Toronto Marlies first Calder Cup Finals win in franchise history.
- The Marlies are currently on a ten game-winning streak, having swept both the North Division and Eastern Conference Finals.
- Toronto went 2-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play.
- Texas had a 37-34 edge in shots in all situations.
- Andreas Johnsson led the Marlies with four shots on goal.
Goals: C. Grundström, A. Johnsson (6)
Assists: C. Mueller (10)
Points: A. Johnsson (15)
PPG: D. Timashov (4)
Shots: C. Greening (42)
+/-: V. LoVerde (+14)
PIMS: T. Dermott (18)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the team’s ability to overcome a slow start:
I think it’s a sign of where we are as a team. We are playing in this series here for a reason and that is because of our depth. We have many people who have contributed to this point at different times. So that’s what we need. I think obviously there are a lot of chunks of this game here today that weren’t very good for us. But the fact that we survived that and manage to come out with a win here, not unlike the last two series where we have played on home ice and had to chase the game a little bit and find a way. It was ugly for sure but we are up one and we are going to take it.
On whether the break between series affected the team:
Well to me it just felt like we weren’t sharp. I think all I can attribute that to is the layoff. But we have to give credit to the other team as well. That’s a good team, and it’s been a while here now, not just because of the layoff but also because of the way that the last chunk of games have gone for us – not as competitive or as tight. The scores of some of our games have been tight but the play hasn’t been as tight. We haven’t had a team push back on us that hard, so that is a credit to them. But the fact again is that we found a way to win and I expect that we will be much better come tomorrow.
On his game-winning goal in the third period:
Yeah, I got slashed there and don’t really know how that happened but got to the bench and [Chris McKeage] was ready for me and just got out there and Mueller made a good pass.
On coming back down 4-3 after 40 minutes:
For sure, I think it speaks a lot to our resiliency, our goaltending and our coaching staff to keep us on the right track and get us going to play the right way we know we need to play to be successful.
On if the long layoff between the series was a factor:
Maybe, I think it was more just a new team with a feeling out process. They came really hard, did a good job and just took us a while to get back into it like you said and match their intensity.
On key to victory when facing a team Toronto hasn’t played this season:
Yea they are a good team. I don’t know if we were quite at our best at the beginning, but they really took it to us and being down 4-2 there with two minutes left in the second, they really pushed us to the edge there but we were able to bounce back with a solid third.
On getting their legs during the game following the layoff:
Well we weren’t trying to feel them out, we were trying to just jump in and play our game. They are a good team, so we saw that right away. You can’t really blame it on eight days, they had five days so they were pretty similar there. They are a good team and it’s going to be a tough series.
June 3 vs Texas – 4:00 p.m. ET
June 5 at Texas – 8:00 p.m. ET
June 7 at Texas – 8:00 p.m. ET
*June 9 at Texas – 8:00 p.m. ET
*June 12 vs Texas – 7:00 p.m. ET
*June 14 vs Texas – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies and Texas Stars are set to kick off the 2018 Calder Cup Finals on Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum, marking the Marlies’ second ever trip to the fourth round.
After sweeping Lehigh Valley in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Marlies have won nine straight games stretching back to a Game 5 victory over Utica in the opening round.
Texas dispatched the Rockford IceHogs in the west, beating them in six games, four of which went to overtime.
Saturday’s matchup will be the first of the season between the two sides, who last met in the postseason for the 2013 Western Conference Finals.
Offensively, the Marlies have been powered by a deep attack that’s spread around all four lines. Each forward has scored at least once throughout the postseason, with Andreas Johnsson leading the way with 15 points (6G, 9A) in just nine games.
He is one of six players that has recorded ten or more points throughout the playoffs, a list that also includes Trevor Moore (4G, 9A), Ben Smith (5G, 6A), Carl Grundstrom (6G, 4A), Miro Aaltonen (4G, 6A) and Chris Mueller (2G, 8A).
At the other end, Curtis McKenzie leads the Stars in scoring with 14 points (6G, 8A) while rookie Sheldon Dries has had success finding the back of the net, scoring seven times in 15 games.
Between the pipes, both teams boast strong goaltending so far. Garret Sparks, who has started 12 games for the Marlies, comes into play with just a 1.96 goals against average while Texas’ Mike McKenna, who faced Toronto last year with Syracuse, has a 1.97 GAA.
Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 PM and fans can tune in live on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, NHL Network (US), AHL Live and TSN 1050 Radio.
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