Marlies close out ACC series with victory over IceCaps

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Photo Credit: Christian Bonin/TSGPhoto.com

The Air Canada Centre has been a bit of an inconsistent beast for the Toronto Marlies, both this season and in years past. The same could be said for the St. John’s IceCaps, who always put up a good fight against the future Leafs and in many ways, have been their kryptonite. Put the two together, and you have a recipe for a great game. Such was the case tonight, as the blue and white closed out the ACC series with a hard-fought 5-3 victory.

While the IceCaps were first to the scoresheet with a third-minute goal from Brett Lernout, Toronto was not happy with the idea of coming out of the first period in a trailing situation. Colin Smith quickly rallied with a dipsie-doodle which fooled St. John’s’ defenders and goaltender Zach Fucale, and just a few minute later, bot TJ Brennan and Josh Leivo followed up with goals of their own to cap off a period where the Marlies outshot their opponents 13-6. 

Not satisfied with just one, Leivo doubled up just two minutes into the second period. While it wasn’t as nice as the first, where he baseball swung at his own rebound, a sharp wraparound was enough to give the Marlies a secure 4-1 lead. As the Leafs showed against the Ducks a few days prior, though, a three goal lead is far from secure. St. John’s was determined to prove this fact, with Bud Holloway firing the puck into a wide open net ten minutes after Leivo’s tally, and Charles Hudon following up with his 26th of the year with eight minutes to go.

The Marlies, perhaps a little more resilient, didn’t let their opponents rally back entirely. With just over three minutes remaining, a shot from Brendan Leipsic bounced off of the skate of Morgan Ellis and into the back of the net, once again giving Toronto insurance. The final buzzer came soon after, but not before All-Star sensation John Scott took a penalty that gave the Marlies one last powerplay; which, in an odd role reversal, drew boos from the crowd. Marlies tryout signing Shane Conacher also had his closest opportunity in the dying minutes, only to be stopped by Fucale.

With the win, the Marlies move to a 47-15-5 record on the season. Their 99 points still lead the league by a large margin, as do their 262 goals for and their goal differential of +89. They’ll get a chance to add to all of these numbers on Tuesday when they take on the IceCaps for the twelfth and final time this season. Puck drop is at 7PM and will be at Ricoh Coliseum.

  • Harte of a Lion

    As long as the players currently up with the Leafs have some games to reacclimatize, this team should be a juggernaut in the playoffs. Leivo seems to have found another gear after a few games with the Leafs and I think that all the kids will dominate.

    With the added time and space in an AHL game compared to the NHL, I can’t wait to see what Nylander, Brown, Hyman and Soshnikov can do.
    I think that Valiev and Carrick might benefit the most.

  • Gary Empey

    1st Period- Smith 19 (Kolomatis, Brennan), 9:55.

    Brennan 24 (Kurtz, Lindberg), 13:18.

    Leivo 15 (Arcobello, Brennan), 17:51.

    2nd Period- Leivo 16 (Carrick), 2:03

    3rd Period- Leipsic 19 (Brennan, Percy), 16:52.

  • Meathead25

    Observation – Scott wasn’t as much of a defensive liability or plug as many make him out to be. He was only -1 for the game, and as for his penalty in the 3rd period, that seemed more like a call to make sure he made it on to the scoresheet than anything else. And for a guy listed as LW he spent a lot of time on the ice as off-side D.