Going home on a high note — Marlies hold off late Wolves surge, head home with 2-0 series lead
TORONTO – On Saturday night the Toronto Marlies looked to once again make quick work of the Chicago Wolves in game #2 of the Western Conference Semi Final. Toronto defeated the Wolves by a score of 5-2 in the opening matchup on Friday night and also welcomed back Peter Holland and Spencer Abbott to the lineup. Abbott recorded two points (2A) while Holland chipped in with three points (1G 2A).
In the first period the Marlies got on the board quick. Just 1:04 into the first period, Peter Holland picked up a loose puck behind the Wolves net and wrapped a quick backhander past a surprised Jake Allen for his 2nd of the post-season and in as many games, 1-0 Toronto. Still in the first period, Toronto would find the back of the net once more. With less than 10 minutes played in the opening frame Trevor Smith finished off a perfect tic-tac-toe passing play by Brandon Kozun and Jerry D’Amigo for his 2nd of the post-season 2-0 Toronto. Later in the first, the Marlies once again struck. After Kenny Ryan was stopped on a breakaway, he collected his own rebound and setup Josh Leivo who chipped his 2nd of the post-season over Allen, 3-0 Toronto. In the dying minute of the period, Toronto would run into some trouble. Chicago received a burst of energy and confidence and played a game of rapid fire on Drew MacIntyre as the Marlies were unable to get the puck out of their own end. Despite the barrage of shots, MacIntyre kept his cool and most importantly, kept the puck out. 3-0 Toronto after one. Shots favoured the Wolves 8-7.
The second period was a lot more even than the first. Chicago and Toronto traded chances but the goalies were making sure they got some attention making big saves at either end. Toronto would get a powerplay midway through the period and despite some great chances, were unable to convert. Kenny Ryan had his second breakaway of the game in the final seconds of the middle frame but Jake Allen stood his ground and kept the puck out. Toronto outshot the Wolves 10-5 in the middle frame. 3-0 Toronto after two.
In the third period, Chicago got one back. With both teams skating 4 aside, Shane Harper took advantage of the extra room on the ice and broke down the right wing side and snapped a wrist shot over the glove of Drew MacIntyre bringing the Wolves to within two. The goal sparked Chicago and they gained some momentum. A powerplay followed shortly after the goal and the Wolves got some great chances, but once again, Drew MacIntyre was there to keep things in check. The intensity level and physicality went up BIG TIME in the third period. Chicago had new life in the third as they continued to throw their weight around and did a good job of getting under the skin of the Marlies players. With less than five minutes remaining, Sam Carrick took a bad interference penalty giving the Wolves some more life. With Jake Allen on the bench and the ensuing 6 on 4, Chicago would come to within one. Dimitri Jaskin tipped a Keith Aucoin shot past Drew MacIntyre to bring the score to 3-2. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, the goal gave the Wolves life. They pressured the Marlies and came ever so close to tying the game but Drew MacIntyre was bailed out by the goal post. The Marlies would finally get the puck out and Jerry D’Amigo would add an empty netter for his 3rd of the post-season for a 4-2 score which would be the eventual final.
- Marlies PK entered Saturday’s game with a 94% success rate and were 4/5 on the night.
- With Peter Holland’s 1st period goal, the Marlies have now opened the scoring in 5 straight games, dating back to the regular season.
- Dimitri Jaskin finally got his 1st of the series, his 3rd of the post-season. He’s been pretty unstoppable so far in the playoffs but the Marlies are doing a great job of shutting him down.
- Kenny Ryan was everywhere in this one. Not only did Ryan have two assists, he also sacrificed his body on numerous occasions blocking shots throughout the game, and came up with a huge block in the final few minutes. Ryan was also the game’s 2nd star.
- Drew MacIntyre wasn’t as busy as he was in game #1 but came up with some key saves when it mattered. He stopped 22 of 24 shots he faced.
- Toronto was out-shot 24-22
- the line of Jerry D’Amigo – Trevor Smith – Brandon Kozun was really impressive once again. The smooth passing by Kozun and D’Amigo led to Smith’s 1st period goal.
- Sam Carrick led players on both teams with 4 shots but didn’t register a point.
- Jake Allen re-gained his composure after a rough first period. He’s been shaky so far in the post-season and Toronto has done a fantastic job of taking advantage of it.
- Zachary Yuen, Tyler Biggs, Fabrice Herzog, Carter Verhaeghe, Connor Brown, David Broll, Jamie Devane, Tyler Biggs, Frederik Gauthier, Eric Knodel, Brad Staubitz and Dylan Yeo were the scratches for Toronto.
- Game #3 is back in Toronto on Wednesday at Ricoh Coliseum.