Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com
The Toronto Marlies might be down a few players, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not capable of the occasional bit of magic. Despite being on the verge of being shut out, two quick goals in the dying moments of regulation were enough to begin turning the team’s only slump of the year into a thing of the past.
Toronto looked like their usual selves from the get-go, outshooting the Phantoms 10-3 in the first period. However, it was Lehigh Valley who scored first, as former Marlies and Leafs forward Tim Brent took advantage of a penalty given to Taylor Doherty and scored his sixth of the season to put the Marlies down 1-0.
Toronto continued to press on, looking for an equalizer, but Petr Straka beat Alex Stalock once more with 5:53 remaining in the third period. It looked like the Marlies’ efforts were going to be wasted, but the in typical fashion, the rally began. Just sixteen seconds after Straka’s insurance tally, Adam Comrie was penalized for a cross check, giving Sam Carrick an opportunity to immediately close the gap with his twelfth of the season.
Less than a minute after Carrick’s goal, Mark Alt was sent to the box to give the Marlies one more shot at equalizing. While they didn’t score before he came out of the box, Brendan Leipsic was able to beat Stolarz with a game-tying wrister before even strength was truly restored.
This sent the game into overtime, and Toronto managed to ride their momentum into the sunset. Two minutes into the extra frame, Colin Smith continued his red-hot run since joining the team by wiring a wrister from the hashmarks to seal off the comeback.
While many have pointed to the Marlies’ poor recent results as proof that the team requires it’s star players to thrive, this game was a good example of the depth that the organization’s prospect pool has. While veterans like TJ Brennan and Mark Arcobello certainly helped push the result further, seeing players like Leipsic, Smith, Carrick, and Tobias Lindberg show up on the scoresheet in meaningful ways while controlling the game in a similar fashion to what the team is useful shows that the team is far from a few-man show.
With the win, the Marlies improve to a league-best 45-14-5 record. A point tomorrow against the Providence Bruins would guarantee them a spot in the playoffs, though with 27 points separating them from 9th place, a worst case scenario is extremely unlikely. Puck drop for tomorrow’s game is at 3:00 PM at Ricoh Coliseum.