The Toronto Marlies are ALIVE !!
Late in the third period, the Marlies scored 3 unanswered goals in a 33 second span to win Game #3 and edge closer in the series. After dropping the first two games in Syracuse, the home team pulled off a massive win that kept them from being pushed to the brink of elimination.
Starting Goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo did his part,and then some, for the Marlies this evening. Stopping 22/25 shots that made their way thru to him, the young Finnish goalie made the saves that he should make, and then a few significantly more difficult ones with the Marlies down by a pair in the second period of play.
Since his arrival to the Marlies from the ECHL, Kaskisuo has compiled 8-2 record with the Toronto team. Coach Sheldon Keefe seems to be extremely pleased with the consistency that Kaskisuo provides with Garret Sparks currently sidelined with a ‘lower body injury’.
During the first two games of the series the Marlies lacked any sustained offensive pressure on the Syracuse net. Things certainly changed in game three as put 34 shots on Crunch goaltender Mike Mckenna and created much more extended zone time in the Syracuse end of the rink.
Andreas Johnsson scored the first two Marlies goals to even the game, the first one coming on the powerplay. Johnsson now leads the team in Playoffs goals with 5. Unfortunately for Johnsson, after getting in to a scuffle at the end of the game, it appeared that he broke his nose during the altercation. The native of Galve, Sweden missed a long period of the season after suffering a serious concussion last year, and any loss of time would be a major setback for the Marlies and Johnsson.
After Syracuse regained the lead at 3-2, the Toronto Marlies exploded for three straight goals within the final two minutes of this contest.
Brendan Leipsic banged home a rebound off of a Andrew Nielsen point shot to tie the game and just 18 seconds later, Carl Grundstrom got the game winner from a similar spot on the ice.
Grundstrom now has three points (2g, 1a) in the first two games that he has played as a Marlies player since arriving from Sweden. Standing in at a legitimate 6’0 and weighing 196 lbs, the 19 year old has looked excellent during his short stint with the Marlies and you can tell that Coach Keefe is trying to find more minutes for him as these Playoffs move along.
And faster than a Social Media Director can tweet out an update, Kasperi Kapanen closed out the scoring just 15 seconds after the Grundstrom goal, by sliding home a shot thru the five-hole of McKenna after slipping behind the Crunch defense.
Those three goals had the Ricoh electrified, and gave the home team some hope as they head into Game #4 on Wednesday evening. The Marlies showed that they can play, and beat, a very talented Syracuse team which will go miles in the confidence department.
Let us see who wants it more in Game 4, less than 24 hrs from now.
Lets Go Marlies !!!
Next Game: Wednesday May 10th @Toronto (7pm puck drop)
“I certainly don’t think you’re able to predict it. You’re just trying to stay with it and give yourself a chance. The guys went out and executed and got a puck to the net and we found a way to tie it up. You remind them while they’re celebrating after the tie that we still have to play some hockey here, so you’re getting the line ready and you find a way to go out and almost duplicate that type of goal. That was good and once again, exciting. We grab three forwards and get them calm and get them to go out there and finish the job, so that’s playoff hockey. These types of things happen, we’re certainly happy that it worked out in our favor here tonight.”
Sheldon Keefe, Marlies Head Coach
Photo Creds: Christian Bonin @ChrisTSGphoto