The Toronto Marlies continued their quest for the Calder Cup this week, kicking off their conference final series against the Texas Stars. The Marlies went into the series undefeated in the post-season, having swept the Milwaukee Admirals and Chicago Wolves in their first series’ of the playoffs. The Marlies managed a 2-2 record against the Stars in their regular season series.
Brandon Kozun got the Marlies off to a fast start in game one, scoring 3:11 into the first period to make it 1-0. The game’s next goal came courtesy of Eddie Shore Award winner T.J. Brennan, who sniped in a wrist shot to give the Marlies a two goal cushion. Peter Holland added to the lead just 13 seconds later, scoring from a similar spot as Brennan after he intercepted a pass in the Texas zone.
Despite the 3-0 scoreline, the Marlies failed to control much of the game, being outshot 38-10 in the final 40 minutes. As that stat would suggest, netminder Drew MacIntyre proved himself to be the Marlies’ most important player with his performance, cranking out save after save to preserve the lead. The Stars would score their lone goal with less than five minutes to play, scoring with a two man advantage after pulling Christopher Nilsorp from his net with 5:26 to go and capitalizing on Trevor Smith’s delay of game penalty. Sam Carrick and Jerred Smithson would add empty net goals soon after the goal, the game finishing 5-1.
Game two saw the Stars control most of the play again, they would tally at least 17 shots in each period. Jerry D’Amigo and Brett Ritchie scored for their respective sides before the first intermission. The second period saw the teams combine for 30 shots and five goals, four of which came in the final six minutes of the frame. Texas led 4-3 going into the final 20 minutes, they managed to hold off the Marlies and score a pair of their own before the buzzer sounded, the final score 6-3.
The loss put an end to the Marlies’ winning streak, they now head back to Toronto for the next three games of the series, hoping to retake control of the tie. Game three will be played Wednesday night at Ricoh Coliseum and broadcast on Rogers TV.