|Calder Cup Playoffs | Third Round – Eastern Conference Finals
Game 1 | Saturday May 19, 2018 | Marlies lead series 1-0
Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, ON
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Knight – Varone – Carey
Conner – Vorobyev – Lindblom
Aube-Kubel – Vecchione – Martel
Goulbourne – Bardreau – McDonald
Myers – Sanheim
Friedman – Brennan
Lamarche – Willcox
Sam Morin, Will O’Neill, Steven Swavely, Radel Fazleev, Morgan Frost, Carsen Twarynski, Frank Hora, Pascal Laberge, Alex Krushelnyski, David Drake, James de Haas, Anthony Stolarz, John Muse
The AHL’s top two teams hadn’t faced each other since sometime around mid-season, but the Toronto Marlies and Lehigh Valley Phantoms found themselves with a date in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Marlies now have home-ice advantage, and as such the first two games take place in Toronto. From the first puck drop, it was apparent that this series could come down to a goaltender battle with Alex Lyon and Garret Sparks both playing very well in the crease.
For the Phantoms, they needed to stay disciplined, find some success on the power play, and control the puck in zone exits and through the neutral zone. After Nicolas Aube-Kubel went off for a slashing penalty, Miro Aaltonen started the scoring on the ensuing power play by deflecting a shot from Andreas Johnsson.
Aaltonen and Johnsson would combine again about six minutes later to extend their lead, with another shot going through Lyon’s five hole. But then Mason Marchment headed to the box for roughing and Philippe Myers scored his third goal of the postseason with a blast from the blue line that found its way past Sparks.
Just 35 seconds into the second period, one of the Toronto defenders went down in his own zone and Corban Knight found the puck and skated it quickly up ice. Tyrell Goulbourne and Colin McDonald followed and Knight dished the puck over to Goulbourne in the slot who didn’t waste time snapping it into the net for the equalizer.
Then the penalty parade started which brought some four-on-four hockey to the ice, and then an extended five-on-three for the Phantoms as Travis Dermott took a double minor for high-sticking Oskar Lindblom, who headed down the tunnel bleeding profusely from the mouth.
Chris Conner got the go-ahead goal for Lehigh Valley in the first half of that double minor as he snapped the puck past Sparks on a sharp angle short side. On the other side of that, however, the Phantoms seemed to take their foot off the gas a bit and the Marlies started surging.
With under five minutes left in the second period, the Marlies controlled the puck well into the Lehigh Valley zone and, after some smooth passing, Ben Smith deflected a shot past Lyon to tie the game again, this time at 3-3.
Not long into the final frame, Adam Brooks gave Toronto the go-ahead goal after the Marlies won a puck battle in the corner and Brooks wristed the puck from the circle. Lehigh Valley couldn’t muster much offense after that and the home team controlled play for much of the period. Lyon and Sparks both came up big a number of times in the period, and ultimately the latter didn’t allow another puck through.
The Marlies took the first game of the series, but it was a very close game and the second meeting should be equally entertaining on Sunday when these two teams meet for the rematch.
▲ Mike Vecchione, Chris Conner, Philippe Myers
|2 for 4||Power Play||1 for 2|
|AHL Three Stars|
Interviews conducted by Amy Johnson for AHL Report
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