The Toronto Marlies continued their postseason dominance as their second-round Calder Cup Playoffs series with the Chicago Wolves shifted back to the Ricoh Coliseum, just one train stop west of downtown Toronto. After stealing the first two games of the series in the Windy City, the Marlies won both games in Hogtown to sweep the Wolves four games to none and advance to the Western Conference Final.
The Marlies and Wolves had their closest match of the series last Wednesday. The first period was a topsy-turvy affair, as the two teams combined for five goals in the period, including three in two minutes and eight seconds. The Marlies found themselves with a slim 3-2 lead after the first frame with goals by T.J. Brennan, Peter Holland and Brandon Kozun. Dmitrij Jaskin and Adam Cracknell replied for the Wolves.
Tyler Shattock tied things up for the Wolves just over halfway through the second period, and that’s how the game would stay until the end of regulation. In overtime, playoff hero Jerry D’Amigo whacked in a rebound past Wolves goaltender Jake Allen for his fourth goal of the postseason and a 4-3 overtime win for the Marlies.
The Wolves needed a win in Friday’s Game 4 to stay alive in the postseason. They showed plenty of desperation in the early stages of the game as Marlies goaltender Drew MacIntyre was forced to make a flurry of stops from in close. Fortunately for the Marlies, they were able to catch the Wolves on the counterattack shortly thereafter, as Greg McKegg carried the puck into the offensive end and blew a wrist shot past Allen for the 1-0 lead.
MacIntyre continued to frustrate the Wolves forwards as the Marlies added to their lead. The line of Carter Ashton, Holland and Sam Carrick gave the Wolves fits with their mix of gritty and skilled play. Ashton scored on a goalmouth scramble in the second period, while Carrick sprung Holland for a breakaway in the third. Holland deftly chipped the puck over Allen’s glove and just like that, the Marlies had a 3-0 lead.
Korbinian Holzer added an empty-net goal to seal the 4-0 win, and a date with the top-seeded Texas Stars in the Western Conference Final. That series opens up Friday night in Cedar Park, Texas, with puck drop at 8:30. You can catch the game on Rogers TV.
Three Stars of the Week
3. T.J. Brennan
Brennan’s record offensive season (72 points in 75 games) has continued in the postseason where he has seven points in as many games. Last week, he added one goal and two assists in two games. He’s an exceptional offensive player who plays with a bit of fire in his belly, similar to P.K. Subban or Tyson Barrie. Hopefully the front office finds a way to keep him around next season, as he could be a solid contributor at the next level if given the chance.
2. Peter Holland
Holland returned from a groin injury in time for the series against the Wolves and didn’t miss a beat, scoring four goals and six points during the four-game sweep. As mentioned earlier, he’s slotted in very well on a line alongside two hard-working grinders in Ashton and Carrick. Holland should be able to make the jump into the Leafs’ lineup full time next season.
1. Drew MacIntyre
What more can be said about this guy? MacIntyre is playing out of his mind right now with an inhuman .949 save percentage in the postseason. The question is, how long will this run last? Every team needs strong goaltending to make a deep playoff run, and the 30-year-old is certainly providing that. He’s in line for a raise this offseason, and will surely draw considerable interest around the NHL from teams looking for a solid veteran backup.