The first period started off in an unusual fashion for the Marlies, as Portland heavily outshot them throughout the first half. Garret Sparks brushed away the Pirates’ advances, though, and the game remained scoreless after twenty.
At first, it didn’t seem like the second would be as forgiving. Just a minute and a half in, Brent Regner’s point shot escaped the crowd and slipped by Sparks to give the Panthers affiliates the lead. The Marlies kept clawing, though, eventually leading to an odd-man rushan odd-man rush. While Frederik Gauthier had Tobias Lindberg at his disposal, ”the Goat” easily beat Sam Brittain to tie the game. Less than two minutes later, the Marlies were back at it, with Rinat Valiev finding Brendan Leipsic for a Stamkos-like, knee drop one-timer to give Toronto the lead.
From there, the game never really escaped the hands of the Marlies, as they closed the shot gap while padding the score sheet. Midway through the third, Leipsic doubled up, this time going backhand on a breakaway to beat Brittain.
For many players, this was just another solid game on the books, but none were more excited to play it than Sam Carrick. This was Carrick’s first game back after suffering one of hockey’s weirder injuries, tripping over mat at the MTS Centre and missing 14 games. He was far from the night’s star; Leipsic and Sparks stole the show, but he did generate a few chances.