The Toronto Marlies found themselves in prime opportunity today to do something outside of the expectation for any team, not just themselves. A win tonight would knock out the Chicago Wolves and send the blue and white to the Western Conference Finals without having yet lost a game.
Certainly nothing that anybody would predict, but they got the job done again tonight, winning the game, and the series, 4-0.
Just like in every other game of this postseason, Toronto was first to strike. After Drew MacIntyre made a flurry of saves, they rushed the puck back up the ice, leading to Greg McKegg putting home his 3rd of the playoffs. An extensive list of powerplays ensued, but neither team wss able to do much with them.
Just three minutes into the second period, the Marlies picked up where they left off. Sam Carrick passed over to Carter Ashton, who winded up a slapshot and blasted the puck into the back of the net. Chicago began to heat up in the bottom half of the period, peppering MacIntyre with shots, but couldn’t convert any into goals.
The scoresheet momentum didn’t stop there. Seven minutes into the third period, Carrick sent Peter Holland on a breakaway, and the team’s top centre widened the gap to 3-0. Korbinian Holzer added an empty netter with five seconds left to seal the deal.
- Drew MacIntyre started in goal, and stopped all 30 shots for the shutout. He stood on his head at times and kept the Marlies ahead for the bulk of the game. One of the best performances of the year from him.
- Andrew MacWilliam left Game 3 with an upper body injury, and didn’t play tonight. Kevin Marshall drew back into the lineup to take his place. Steve Spott gives him a 4-5 day timeline for recovery.
- The forward lines saw a shakeup tonight. Spencer Abbott and Sam Carrick switched lines, and David Broll came out of the lineup for Frazer McLaren. I’m not too hot on that last move, but hey, he got an assist on the McKegg goal.
- The powerplay was ineffective, scoring on none of their five opportunities. The penalty kill unit was thrown to the Wolves 4 times, and fended them off all of them.
- Attendance at Ricoh Coliseum was 7388, which was a much more impressive number than Wednesday’s game. More than double, actually.
- The Marlies will face the winner of Grand Rapids / Texas in the conference finals.