Marlies Take Series Lead in a Wild Opening GameJun 1, 2018
TORONTO - The 2018 Calder Cup Finals got off to a wild start on Saturday at Ricoh Coliseum as the Toronto Marlies and Texas Stars combined for 11 goals in a 6-5 finish that gave the Marlies a 1-0 series lead.
Travis Morin tallied a pair of goals for the Stars, but it was a three-goal third period by the Marlies that pushed them to the opening series lead after Texas led through the first forty minutes of play. Six different players scored for the Marlies as they extended their playoff win steak to 10 games.
Game 2 is Sunday in Toronto at 3 p.m. CT.
Morin's second of the game came on a rebound chance with three minutes to play in the second. It looked like the Stars would carry a 4-2 lead into the third but Ben Smith's centering pass from the corner slipped through the leg pad of Mike McKenna to close Toronto's deficit to one with 15 seconds to play in the middle frame.
As the third began, the Marlies scored twice in the opening five minutes of the period for their first lead of the night off goals by Mason Marchment and Martin Marincin for a 5-4 score. Justin Dowling leveled the score for Texas at 6:10 of the third on a rush up ice around a Marlies defender before wrapping the puck around Toronto's Garret Sparks for his third of the playoffs.
The Stars had corraled the Marlies second-ranked power play through four chances in the game, but the fifth proved costly as Trevor Moore one-timed a centering feed to the slot in the net at the halfway point of the third for the eventual game-winner.
The 11 goals given up was an oddity for McKenna and Sparks who had both been instrumental in leading their teams to the final round.
Morin opened the scoring on the power play for the Stars with his first of the night at 6:19 of the first from the slot. Justin Holl returned fire for the Marlies two minutes later when his centering effort deflected off a Texas defender and in the net, but Curtis McKenzie made it a 2-1 Texas lead with seven minutes to play in the first on a wrist shot from the left circle for his team-leading 16th point of the playoffs.
In period two, Frederik Gauthier knotted the score again for Toronto with 9:03 to play but 28 seconds later, Austin Fyten capped off a Texas forechecking effort with his second of the playoffs and a 3-2 Stars lead.
Morin's late second-period goal made it 4-2 before the Marlies began their comeback push.
Texas finished 2-for-4 on the power play while the Marlies went 1-for-5. Sheldon Dries and McKenzie were both denied on shorthanded breakaway attempts in the game by Sparks, and it was the first time all playoffs the Stars lost after scoring the opening goal against the their opponents (8-1).
Photo Credit: Toronto Marlies