Texas Wins Tough Battle in Game 2
The Calder Cup Finals will turn to Texas with the series tied 1-1 after a defensive duel went the Stars’ way on Sunday.
Following a fast and furious offensive Game 1 Saturday, both teams struggled to find the net on Sunday.
Ben Smith opened the scoring in the late minutes of the first, deflecting a Travis Dermott point shot to beat Mike McKenna.
Less than three minutes into the second, Curtis McKenzie responded for Texas and that 1-1 scoreline held up as the two teams entered the third.
Gavin Bayreuther scored from the point on a Texas power play in the first five minutes of the third and that proved to be the eventual game winner as the Stars clogged up the defensive zone and held Toronto to just four shots in the final frame.
Garret Sparks made 22 saves for the Marlies while McKenna turned aside 21 in the Texas net.
Smith’s goal was his sixth of the postseason and gives him points in consecutive games to start the Finals.
Game 3 is set for Tuesday night at 8:00 PM EST and can be seen on Leafs Nation Network and TSN 2.
Texas: C. McKenzie (8) (D. Heatherington, B. Regner), G. Bayreuther (2) PP (J. Dowling, T. Morin)
Goaltender: M. McKenna (21/22)
Toronto: B. Smith (6) (T. Dermott)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (22/24)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Ben Smith opened the scoring at 17:51 of the first period. Smith has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists) in 15 games this postseason. Smith has recorded a point (5 goals, 3 assists) in seven straight playoff games.
- Travis Dermott had the lone assist on Smith’s first period goal. Dermott has four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in 11 games this postseason.
- Garret Sparks stopped 22 of 24 shots he faced against the Texas Stars. Sparks is now 11-3 in the playoffs with a .920 Save Percentage and a 2.18 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto went 3-for-4 on the penalty kill and 0-for-3 on the power play.
- Texas had a 24-22 edge in shots in all situations.
- Colin Greening, Trevor Moore and Calle Rosen led the Marlies with three shots on goal.
Goals: C. Grundström, A. Johnsson, B. Smith (6)
Assists: C. Mueller (10)
Points: A. Johnsson (15)
PPG: D. Timashov (4)
Shots: C. Greening (42)
+/-: V. LoVerde (+15)
PIMS: T. Dermott (18)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On changes made between the first and second game:
We made a few adjustments, not so much related to their game but related to our game. Just in areas that we wanted to execute better in. I thought we did a really good job of that in the first period. We liked our first period, I liked a lot about it. It would have been nice to come out with more than one. We failed to do that and then had a power play opportunity at the tail end of that period and the start of the second which we obviously failed to execute on that. That really took the wind out of our sails and gave them some life. I’m not quite sure we ever really got it back after that point.
On Toronto’s first loss since April 29:
These are the way that playoffs are supposed to be. They’re not supposed to be the way they have gone for us here of late. So, you have to be able to deal with these types of things and frankly it’s expected. Now we get a chance to respond, we are going to go out on the road, we haven’t been there but we expect it will be a difficult place to play. It’s going to be loud, they play tough at home just like we do. It’s going to be a challenging task of course, but one I think we will be real excited for.
On challenges to the blue line:
They’re playing fast, they’re playing hard. They’re really coming at us with all of the speed and skill that they have, even though the ice wasn’t too hot for us. We got a coupe bounces our way and a couple theirs and they capitalized on them. I was caught once with the puck bouncing everywhere and not being sure where it went but you have to read those plays and take more defensively. I think they played a good game and they really took out our best guys from the game. We had a tough time with it and we are going to have to figure out how to respond.
On what allowed Texas to limit shots by Toronto:
We weren’t in their end very much. We did that pretty well in the first period, we were able to create some space with the puck and find ways to get to the net but we weren’t able to get much in the second and third.
On a low-scoring game following the 6-5 score from Game 1:
I mean it’s the Calder Cup Final so it’s going to be tight, it’s going to be hard to score goals. So, every opportunity is important and we need to bare down a bit more on our chances.
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 will look to take a two-game lead back to Texas when the second game of the Calder Cup Finals goes on Sunday.
The Marlies won the series opener after a six-goal effort on Saturday, powered by six different skaters who found the back of the net.
Trevor Moore’s game winner was his fifth of the playoffs, and now puts him in a tie for fourth most playoff points this year with 14. Moore enters Sunday riding a five-game point streak and has four goals and three assists in his last seven games.
Chris Mueller turned in a three-point performance on Saturday, stretching his point streak to three games. Mueller has two goals and six assists in his last seven contests.
Saturday’s win was the Marlies tenth straight, stretching back to Game 5 of the opening round against Utica.
Texas’ offense was driven by Travis Morin and Justin Dowling, both of who collected three points yesterday. Morin’s two goals give him 11 points (6G, 5A) so far this postseason.
Special teams could again be an important factor in Game 2, after Texas capitalized on the power play twice in Saturday’s game. The Marlies also added one on the power play and the two sides enter with power play conversions over 20% so far throughout the playoffs. The Marlies have converted on 23.2% of chances while Texas have converted on 24.1% of opportunities.
Puck drop for today’s game is scheduled for 4:00 and fans can tune in on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2, NHL Network and TSN 1050 Radio.
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Head to Head (2018 Playoffs)