Photo Credit: Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com

Greening leads Marlies to OT victory, series lead over Albany

The Toronto Marlies, slightly reconfigured, stepped onto home ice tonight for the first time in this postseason. With Kasperi Kapanen back from his NHL tour of duty and Kasimir Kaskisuo making his Toronto playoff debut in goal, the Marlies eked out a 3-2 overtime victory to bring them to within one game of moving onto the second round.

Toronto was first to strike in this one, and fittingly, it involved their newly-returned superstar. Kapanen corralled the result of a Travis Dermott point shot, and with his backhand, found an open Brendan Leipsic just four minutes into the game. The lead didn’t last very long, though; John Quenneville capped off a creative play his teammates to tie the game back up just six minutes later.

History appeared to repeat itself late in the second period, as Leipsic buried his second of the game with two minutes remaining in the frame, only to have Carter Camper respond with a goal of his own not even thirty seconds later.

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This set up for a third period where nobody scored, but Toronto was lucky to escape without conceding. The Marlies took three penalties over the course of the period, none more important than a too many men call with less than two minutes to go in the period. The Marlies pushed through, though, and killed off the bulk of the penalty en route to forcing overtime.

The Marlies made sure that those who waited for the fourth period didn’t have to stick around very long after puck drop. Just seconds after killing off the penalty, Justin Holl launched a pass up to Colin Greening, who, in his words “closed [his] eyes and shot”, ripping a wrister past McKenzie Blackwood to win the game for the home squad.

It was a solid overall effort for Toronto. While the Devils had stretches of momentum, and giving up as many penalty kills as they did in the third period won’t be acceptable down the stretch, the Marlies always found a way to pull the game close when needed. Their star players in Leipsic and Kapanen shined; despite this being Kapanen’s seventh game in two weeks and sixth to go to overtime, he was still the strongest skater on the ice throughout.

Kaskisuo also deserves a lot of credit for his performance tonight. While having him start in the playoffs wasn’t the preferred option for the team, stopping 27 of 29 is a very strong and appreciated performance from the 2016 NCAA signing.

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With the win, the Marlies improve to 2-1 in the series, now giving them two opportunities to clinch on home ice. Their first chance will come on Friday night, at Ricoh, at 7:00 PM.

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  • Harte of a Lion

    The kids played well, especially Dermott, Leipsic and Kapanen. Nielsen needs to realize that he can contribute even when he isn’t putting up points. If he keeps his intensity and continues to punish anyone in front of the net, the team has enough offensive options to win. Gauthier played well and centering two offensive spark plugs in Kapanen and Leipsic suits him. He is a completely different player to the awkward lumbering forward who stepped on the ice last season. After all, 2017 is the year of the Goat and it looks good on you Freddy! With his improved skating and puck handling abilities, he no longer seems a “maybe” to one day make the Leafs.

  • Gary Empey

    Brendan Leipsic (1) ASST: Kasperi Kapanen (1), Travis Dermott (2)
    Brendan Leipsic (2) ASST: Kasperi Kapanen (2), Frederik Gauthier (2)
    Colin Greening (2) ASST: Justin Holl (4), Travis Dermott (3)