We officially have a series in Toronto. 24 hours after nearly going down 3-0 in their series against the Syracuse Crunch, the Marlies added an exclamation point to their Game 3 comeback by adding another win to their column on Wednesday night, tying an ever-dramatic series at two games.
The two teams wasted no time in making this an interesting game. Just five minutes in, Syracuse opened up the scoring thanks to Adam Erne being in just the right place to pick up a bounce. It was certainly more than just luck, though; Erne quickly found just the right spot along the post to ring his shot off of to beat Kasimir Kaskisuo.
But Toronto were quick to respond. The Marlies came out with two lines to shift the tide back in their favour; the trio of Carl Grundstrom, Cal O’Reilly, and Kasperi Kapanen to slow down potential supplementary pressure, and the checking squad of Kerby Rychel, Brett Findlay, and Rich Clune to re-establish the offensive zone with a strong forecheck. They did more than just that, though, as Clune was able to find a chance to beat Mike McKenna and made no mistake in doing so, evening the game back up just a minute after the icebreaker. Not long after, the team found themselves on the powerplay, and that led to the tables completely turning; Rychel accepted a pass from Kasperi Kapanen and impressively tucked it into an opening.
Two huge swings in momentum, leaving two fully alert sides. The pace of the game had ramped up, with both sides throwing the body and putting on pressure in bursts. But Toronto had the bulk of it, and when their opponents went down a man once again, they doubled their money; this time, Trevor Moore banked one off of McKenna to give his team the game’s first two-goal lead.
That differential lasted for the remainder of the period, but it didn’t survive for much of the second. Just two and a half minutes into the frame, Ben Thomas found a clear lane from the point and wired a slapshot into the top corner. Toronto’s response from there was to simply prevent Syracuse from shooting anymore, limiting them to just four shots in the period.
At the same time, they found themselves struggling to beat Kristers Gudlevskis, who replaced McKenna to start the second. Just controlling the pace was key, though. While the momentum started to shift the other way late in the third period, and Toronto missed a couple of empty net opportunities in the final minutes, they did just enough to hang on for the win.
The victory ties up the series for Toronto ahead of their return to Syracuse, which will happen on Saturday night at 7:00 PM. It also guarantees at last one more home game; Game 6 will come on Monday.