Last night at the Wonka Factory in Hershey the Toronto Marlies dropped Game #1 of the Conference finals by a score of 3-1.
Things were looking solid when William Nylander opened the scoring off of a wonderful feed from Kasperi Kapanen. The Marlies took that lead into the dressing room and while the pace was decent, the game was definitely a feeling out process in the opening period.
The Marlies started Antoine Bibeau (20/23) between the pipes who had moments of impressive goaltending but eventually was out duelled at the opposite end of the ice by the Hershey Bears goalie, Peters.
Hershey scored three straight goals (one on the PP) to win the game and never really be challenged by the Marlies. Marlies will have to be better in Game #2 (and the rest of the series) if they want to win this series. Hershey seemed to shut down the speed of the Marlies, similar ‘style’ that Albany used to be effective, but managed to stay out of the penalty box which is a huge benefit to any team that plays the Marlies.
Game #2 starts at 7pm this evening (TSN 2).
Attendance was 6300 in Hershey.
What else can we say about this kid? The team that was supposed to give the London Knights the most trouble in this Memorial Cup, host of tournament, Red Deer Rebels weren’t even on the same planet as the red hot Knights. In a 6-2 victory last night, Leafs prospect Mitch Marner had 5 points towards that total.
With 2 goals and 3 assists, Marner is again receiving huge accolades from around the hockey world (with the exception of one guy) as he continues to impress even those who have seen it all in the OHL. It is amazing that people are finally noticing exactly how well this kid controls the pace of play during a game and seems to continue to raise his own level of game when more is at stake.
Marner is now riding a 17 game point scoring streak that goes back to OHL post season. Simply put if you want to have a chance against the London Knights a team will have to stay out of the penalty box and not be drawn in by the antics of (draft eligible) Matthew Tkachuk. Known as one of the most irritating players in the CHL, Tkachuk is living up to his reputation already in this Memorial Cup.
Knights next play the Brandon Wheat Kings on Monday May 23rd.