For the second game in as many nights, the Toronto Marlies and Syracuse needed overtime to decide a result.
The Marlies prevailed this time as both teams took three points from the weekend back-to-back set.
The Crunch really should have taken the lead inside the opening minute on an odd-man rush, but Cory Conacher was robbed by a diving Kasimir Kaskisuo
Instead, Toronto struck first on the power play, where Trevor Moore finished off a rebound from Jeremy Bracco’s initial shot.
There were further penalties to both teams, but penalty killing units dominated the proceedings and a surge in momentum off of one of their kills allowed Syracuse to tie the game.
Toronto made it far too easy for Alex Barre-Boulet, leaving the rookie all alone with time in front to take a pass from Carter Verhaeghe and slot it low past Kaskisuo.
The Marlies failed to show up for the opening 90 seconds of the middle frame and paid the price. The Crunch had the Marlies chasing their own tail before Barre-Boulet was again left alone in front, where he redirected a shot by Gabriel Dumont to put the Crunch up 2-1.
Syracuse had multiple chances to take a more commanding lead, but their inability to finish combined with excellent goaltending from Kaskisuo kept Toronto within one.
The Marlies grew into the period around the midway point, but neither Adam Brooks, Rasmus Sandin or Moore could beat Eddie Pasquale.
A diving save with six minutes remaining by Kaskisuo to rob Conacher for a second time in the game was one to remember after the Marlies were able to produce a tying marker with 28 seconds left on the clock.
From the left circle, Pierre Engvall’s shot somehow trickled through the equipment of Pasquale to give Toronto life heading into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
The third period saw the teams fire eight shots apiece, but Toronto will feel they should have won the game in regulation.
The Marlies wasted back to back power plays, including 16 seconds of a two-man advantage after winning the offensive zone draw.
Kaskisuo remained resolute between the pipes at the other end, including a big save on Andy Andreoff with seven minutes remaining.
After a spell of 4-on-4 hockey opened up the game a little without producing a deciding goal, the game needed overtime for the second time in as many nights.
Much to the home fans’ chagrin, the officials awarded Toronto a power play, but Eddie Pasquale produced an excellent glove save to deny Brooks before the officials leveled the proceedings by sending Sandin to the box.
With a penalty kill looming, Dmytro Timashov’s seeing-eye wrist shot from the blue line found its way through traffic and into the net to earn Toronto the extra point.
Post Game Notes
– This was the last game of the season series between Toronto and Syracuse, with the Marlies coming out on top with a 4-1-1 record. Toronto also extended their points streak to five games (4-0-1).
“I thought our guys really worked today,” said Sheldon Keefe. “This team requires a lot from you. You have to really work and be really competitive; they draw that out of you. Each game we played against them this season hasn’t been perfect, but at different times, our players have found another level.”
– Dmytro Timashov and Pierre Engvall both recorded two points (1-1-2) and combined with Michael Carcone, their line consistently gave Syracuse problems throughout the game.
“I think, in all areas of a center, [Engvall] has really come to life,” said Keefe. “I thought he was outstanding today. Really, really drove the game any time he was out there. One of the biggest concerns coming into this week with him at center had been faceoffs, but he’s worked at it and he’s getting stronger and stronger. They started with the puck and his line didn’t give it back very much.”
– This game was some redemption for Kasimir Kaskisuo, who was lit up by Syracuse earlier this season and gave up two goals on two shots in his last start against the Crunch. He came up with a handful of vital stops in posting 24 saves in total for the win.
– Calle Rosen was a scratch for this game after taking a puck off his foot blocking a shot on Friday night.
– Andreas Borgman remains out with the lingering effects of a concussion.
– Saturday’s lines: