A new series, a new team. The Chicago Wolves took the place of the defeated Milwaukee Admirals and began a best of seven challenge against the Toronto Marlies. They’re faster, and more experience, but was it enough to slow down a red hot blue and white roster? Apparently not, as the Marlies picked up a 5-2 win to open the series.
The Marlies opened the scoring midway through the first period. In the midst of a powerplay, Josh Leivo found a streaking Trevor Smith in front of the net, and the captain made no mistake as he deked to the backhand and tucked a puck past Jake Allen. Five minutes later, Toronto found themselves on a two man advantage, and Greg McKegg found Peter Holland, who also went with the backhand to the back of the net play to get an insurance marker.
The second period saw the Marlies widen the gap even further on the first even strength opportunity of the game, as Leivo continued his unlike him run as a playmaker by feeding Greg McKegg, who ripped a wrist shot past an unprepared Allen. Chicago wasn’t going out quietly, though. Christian Hanson snapped a combined six goal run for the Marlies, and Michael Davies added a goal of his own to make the game competitive once again. The period ended before the comeback could be completed, however, which left for a dramatic third period.
Jake Allen was quick to score for the Marlies in the third period. I know what you’re thinking, he’s Chicago’s goalie. But sure enough, when Carter Ashton went on a breakaway and completely whiffed on the puck thanks to a smart stick check, Allen tapped the puck back and towards the net to create a 4-2 game and give Ashton his first of the playoffs. With three minutes to go, Sam Carrick found himself on a break and sealed the deal with his fourth of the post season.
- Drew MacIntyre stopped 37 of 39 shots en route to the victory. Another very good performance for a goaltender who has been the straw that stirs this team’s drink over the course of the year.
- Jerry D’Amigo was all over the place tonight, leading the team with five shots and picking up an assist on the Carrick goal. It’s been another great playoffs for him. I’m not sure whether that’s a “clutch player’ thing or him being better conditioned as the season progresses, but this has become a pattern for him.
- Sam Carrick continues his tear and picks up a goal and four shots. Logic implies his scoring will dry out soon, but he’s done a great job keeping the puck in the offensive zone.
- TJ Brennan and Kevin Marshall were the only minus players on the team tonight.
- Peter Holland was the first star with a goal and two assists. Spencer Abbott had a pair of assists. Carter Ashton had a goal, and Andrew MacWilliam had a point. You have to imagine that Steve Spott is happy to have these guys back in the lineup.
- Attendance in Chicago? Just 1779. That’s horrendous, but for a Game 1, in the middle of the playoffs, while the Blackhawks, Cubs, and White Sox (at home) are playing, I’m not all too surprised.
- The powerplay ended up 2 for 6, while the Penalty Kill was a perfect 3 for 3. A good night out for the special teams.
- Game 2 is at 8PM tomorrow.