The Calder Cup Finals will go to a winner-takes all Game 7 on Thursday after the Texas Stars defeated the Toronto Marlies Tuesday night.
The two sides have traded wins throughout the series, with neither able to win consecutive contests.
Starting things out, the Marlies controlled play and generated a number of chances against the Stars but were unable to solve Mike McKenna, who made 16 saves in the opening frame as Toronto outshot Texas 16-4.
Texas capitalized on McKenna’s strong play in the second, scoring three times off goals by Curtis McKenzie, Travis Morin and Austin Fyten.
Calle Rosen cut into the deficit less than two minutes into the third as he fired a point shot through traffic that found its way to the back of the net. Andreas Johnsson had the assist for his 21st point of the playoffs.
Sheldon Dries scored shorthanded for Texas two minutes later to make it a 4-1 game again.
With less than five minutes to go, Justin Holl halved the deficit again, scoring five hole with the Marlies goalie pulled. Rosen and Chris Mueller had the helpers.
Colin Markinson scored in the empty net to finish out the 5-2 final.
McKenna finished the night with 43 saves and was named the game’s first star.
The series is now tied 3-3 with the seventh game set for Thursday.
GAME SUMMARY | GAME SHEET
Texas: C. McKenzie (11) (J. Dowling), T. Morin (7) (J. Dowling), A. Fyten (3) (Unassisted), S. Dries (10) SH (J. Dickinson), C. Markison (3) EN (Unassisted)
Goaltender: M. McKenna (43/45)
Toronto: C. Rosen (5) (A. Johnsson), J. Holl (3) (C. Rosen, C. Mueller)
Goaltender: G. Sparks (13/17), C. Pickard (6/6)
FROM THE SCORESHEET
- Calle Rosen scored at 1:37 of the third period and later added the primary assist on Holl’s third period goal. Rosen has scored four goals in the Calder Cup Finals, including two in Game 5. Rosen has 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) in 15 games this postseason.
- Justin Holl scored at 15:12 of the third period. Holl has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in 19 games this postseason.
- Andreas Johnsson had the lone assist on Rosen’s third period goal. Johnsson has 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists) in 15 games this postseason. He leads the AHL in points.
- Chris Mueller recorded the secondary assist on Holl’s third period goal. Mueller has 16 points (4 goals, 12 assists) in 19 games this postseason.
- Garret Sparks stopped 13 of 17 shots he faced before leaving the game at 3:08 of the third period. Sparks is now 13-5 in the playoffs with a .912 Save Percentage and a 2.29 Goals Against Average. Calvin Pickard replaced Sparks, stopping all six shots he faced. Pickard now has a .956 Save Percentage and a 1.00 Goals Against Average.
- Toronto had a 45-24 edge in shots in all situations.
- Ben Smith led the Marlies with six shots on goal.
Goals: A. Johnsson (8)
Assists: A. Johnsson (13)
Points: A. Johnsson (21)
PPG: D. Timashov (4)
Shots: T. Moore (52)
+/-: V. LoVerde (+17)
PIMS: T. Dermott (18)
HEAD COACH SHELDON KEEFE
On the disappointment of losing Game 6 to preparing for Game 7:
It’s difficult obviously, that’s what we talked about in there. We let an opportunity get away from us tonight, but it’s over. We have to move on, we have an opportunity now again to play in a one game shot on home ice for a championship. So, we have to turn the page, recognize what didn’t go well for us and why it didn’t go well for us tonight. We will talk more about that tomorrow but most importantly we just wanted to get our teams mindset right to recognize that we have got a great opportunity that we should be excited for.
On taking from the experience of bouncing back in the first round against Utica:
For sure, not just that but all of the experiences we have had through these playoffs and in this series. We have had to bounce back. The reason why we are going to Game 7 is that neither team has been able to win two games in a row. That’s why we are here, we have had to respond at different times in this series and we have been able to do that. Just like we knew going into today, it wasn’t going to be easy. That’s a very good team, a very proud team. They beat us in this building the last time they played here and that’s what happened.
On returning to the lineup:
It was kind of up in the air until the last couple of days. We were just working out with the training staff and trying to put myself in the best spot possible to play. They did a great job with me. Not the result we wanted but came out, just wanted to make any impact we could and the game didn’t fall in the right hands.
On building off of his Game Seven experience earlier this season with the Maple Leafs:
You learn from them, definitely. Looking around the room after the game, there’s not one face that’s not going to be 110 percent next game. This isn’t a feeling we want to recreate.
On tonight’s loss:
Yeah, our first 20 minutes were obviously our best 20 minutes of the game. It would have been nice to score one early. They’re a good team, they take advantage of their opportunities and one game now.
On looking ahead to game seven on Thursday:
It takes a lot of hard work to get to this point, to earn home ice. We just have to come prepared, 60 minutes for a championship. It’s going to be a tough competitive game.
June 14 vs Texas – 7:00 p.m. ET
The Toronto Marlies have a chance to win their first ever Calder Cup on Tuesday night when the Texas Stars visit Ricoh Coliseum for Game 6 of the Finals.
The Marlies enter with a 3-2 series lead after a dominant 6-2 victory Saturday night in Cedar Park. Calle Rosen scored twice in that game, while Andreas Johnsson, Colin Greening, Carl Grundstrom and Trevor Moore all found the back of the net.
Johnsson now leads the entire league in playoff scoring with 20 points (8G, 12A). His 20 points also give Johnsson the franchise record for most points in a single playoff campaign, surpassing Connor Carrick’s 18 points two years ago.
Both Johnsson and Chris Mueller are averaging a point-per-game in the series, with two goals and three assists each.
At the other end, the Stars are led offensively by their top line of Curtis McKenzie, Travis Morin and Justin Dowling. Morin and Dowling lead Texas with six points (2G, 4A) each in this series, while McKenzie has scored four times and added an assist.
Though penalty calls have been infrequent, special teams remains an important factor when either side does get an opportunity. Texas are 4-for-10 on the man advantage while the Marlies are looking to turn around their power play, which has converted just once in twelve chances.
With a sellout crowd expected at Ricoh Coliseum, the Marlies will look to continue building on home-ice advantage that has benefitted them throughout the postseason. They are 8-1 in Toronto throughout this playoff campaign, and 13-1 over their last fourteen home playoff games.
Texas have faced difficulties on the road, as they are 5-4 playing away from home throughout these playoffs.
A win would give the Marlies their first Calder Cup championship since moving to Toronto at the start of the 2005-06 season, and would represent the first for a Maple Leafs AHL affiliate since the New Brunswick Hawks won in 1982.
Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM and fans can catch all the action live on Leafs Nation Network, TSN 2 and NHL Network.
Follow us on Twitter for pre- and post-game coverage, as well as live updates from inside Ricoh Coliseum.
Head to Head (2018 Playoffs)
||Power Play Percentage
||Penalty Kill Percentage
|A. Johnsson (8)
||Leading Goal Scorer
||C. McKenzie (10)
|A. Johnsson (20)
||Leading Points Scorer
||C. McKenzie (19)
|G. Sparks (13)
||M. McKenna (13)