Your Toronto Marlies returned home to the friendly confines of the Ricoh Coliseum for Game #3, after splitting the first two contests in Albany to start this year’s Calder Cup Playoffs.
Before we get into the game, I know. I owe you clowns a beer because I haven’t spent nearly enough time around the Marlies and many of you have questions about the blueline (and the rest of the team) and I have neglected my duties. I promise to do my best until the Playoffs are over.
Onto Game 3.
As we arrived today, it was confirmed that Garret Sparks would not be playing due to a ‘Lower body injury’ and according to Head Coach Sheldon Keefe, there “is no timeline for his return”. During the playoffs, I do not expect a team to discuss injuries but any prolonged situation will mean that Kasimir Kaskisuo will get the nod in between the pipes for the Marlies.
Kaskisuo, 23 yr old native of Vantaa, Finland, started last evenings contest for the Marlies and played very well in doing so. Kaski stopped 27 of 29 and picked up the victory in overtime, in his first start in the AHL Playoffs.
As an aside, it would appear that the organization is content with allowing Antoine Bibeau to continue in a backup role with the team as we move forward. Amazing considering the start to the year that Bibeau put together for the Marlies team. It is a fickle world.
A tight checking game for the entire evening, there was not a lot of ice to be found for either team and capitalizing on chances would be at a premium.
Brendan Leipsic opened the scoring on a wonderful backhand pass from Kasperi Kapanen. With Freddy (the Goat) Gauthier working the middle for that line, they buzzed the entire evening and were dangerous every time they were on the ice.
The Devils didn’t waste any time in answering, scoring on a power play goal where Kaskisuo appeared to be screened by Andrew Campbell and an Albany forward.
Leipsic scored his second of the game, and second assist to Kapanen on a solid passing play by the entire line. Gauthier started the play and a slick little re-direction by Leipsic found the back of the net on a pass from Kapanen. It would appear this line is going to provide offence for the team as we progress thru this series.
Less than 30 seconds later, the Albany Devils tied the game at 2-2 and that is where the teams stayed until the end of regulation. Many little scrums took place after whistles, and it was a chippy game. No major fireworks were set off, but the animosity is building. Love to see where this ends up.
In overtime, Colin Greening scored to give the Marlies the victory and a 2-1 lead in the opening series of the Calder Cup Playoffs. On the goal, Travis Dermott notched his second assist of the game and continues to show that he has solid offensive awareness, and is building his game on the defensive side of the puck.
The Marlies and the Devils will play game #4 on Friday, April 28th @7pm at the Ricoh Coliseum.
— AHL (@TheAHL) April 27, 2017
“We had to get through a penalty kill early. With the penalty kill early there, frankly I thought that Gauthier and Leipsic would stay out a little bit longer. They kept their shift short which was nice. We had Kapanen coming from the boards and then Greening has just been real reliable for us, we wanted to get him out there. We get a lucky break, puck falls on his stick, Hollsy makes a great play on the entry and Greening shoots it in the net and great celebration. You could just tell from his reaction just how much this means to him so it’s really nice to see from a veteran guy like him.”
– Sheldon Keefe – Marlies Head Coach
Three Stars: 1) Greening
Photo Credits: Christian Bonin @ChrisTSGphoto