Photo Credit: Christian Bonin

Carcone hat trick wins Game 4 for Marlies, ties Eastern Conference Finals at 2-2

With three goals, including the overtime winner, and an assist in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, 23-year-old prospect Michael Carcone’s performance was the driving force of the Toronto Marlies’ 4-3 win on Thursday evening.

“It’s big time. That’s the only words,” Jeremy Bracco, Carcone’s linemate, said post game. “It’s playoff hockey. This is why you put on the gear when you’re five, six-years-old.”

After Marlies defenceman Timothy Liljegren interrupted a Charlotte zone-entry near the midway point of overtime, the puck went upward like a pop-fly. Carcone caught the puck, streaked down the right side of the ice and then ripped a shot right through Alex Nedeljkovic’s five-hole, erupting the Coca Cola Coliseum.

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“I think I kind of blacked out there,” said Michael Carcone. “Sometimes you don’t believe it but, it was definitely a good feeling.”

After being silenced by Charlotte in Game 3–with Nedeljkovic stopping all but one of the 34 shots he faced during his teams’ 5-1  thumping–the Marlies approached Game 4 in need of a spark. Their power play, the best in the league throughout this years’ playoffs (29.1%), had dried up over the previous two games (1/8).

With six shots on goal in Game 4, it was Carcone–with help from linemates Bracco and Chris Mueller–who really stepped up to the plate.

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“You see when he does move his feet like he [did] today, he’s a pretty dominant player and tough to slow down,” said Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe.

With 10 points in 11 games, Carcone is behind only Jeremy Bracco for the team lead in playoff scoring.

The Marlies stayed with it

Game 4 was a fantastic development opportunity for the Leafs’ AHL affiliate.

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Down 2-1 in the series, a loss would have meant the Marlies would’ve been on the brink of elimination heading into Game 5. A win gave them some stability, resetting the series to a best-of-three.

“Of course, you’d rather be up and you’d rather things [be] rolling smoothly,” Keefe told reporters at the morning skate. “But when they’re not, you get really tested and you really get to experience the emotions of the playoffs.”

The Marlies had a poor second period, but as they’ve done throughout the course of these playoffs–they came out swinging in the third period and carried that momentum into overtime, where they outshot Charlotte 5-0.

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Mason Marchment was a wrecking ball

You ought to think a big fat picture of Mason Marchment, with a massive red X cutting through it, is on the Checkers’ bulletin board. You can tell he’s in their heads.

Marchment did what he does best, he was agitating. He was annoying. He was tough to play against.

Laying a handful of bone crushing hits early on in the first period, Marchment set the tone for the Marlies. While in the offensive zone, he was parked in front of the net and creating plenty of havoc throughout the game.

Marchment’s five-game point streak may have come to a close, but man was his presence ever felt.

What’s next?

The series is tied 2-2 and Game 5 will take place in Toronto tonight. Puck drop is slated for 7:00 pm ET. Game 6 and Game 7 (if necessary) will take place in Charlotte.

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