Saturday, June 2, 2018

Toronto Marlies Best Texas Stars in Game 1 Track Meet 6-5

(Credit: Christian Bonin/Toronto Marlies)
Coming into tonight's game, neither club had lost when scoring first. Texas notched the first goal but ended up falling 6-5 as Toronto activated for three goals in the third period and overcame a 2-goal Texas lead in the second.

The guys who've been here before were big time contributors for the Stars in this one. Travis Morin had a pair of goals. Curtis McKenzie tossed in a power play marker. Justin Dowling set up Morin's nice second period goal and had a fantastic individual effort to tie the game in the third.

Texas certainly looked like they belonged in this game. It wasn't a mismatch by any means. When the Stars were effective, they were limiting the speed of the Marlies through the neutral zone and using the power play to exact revenge. Texas finished with a 2/4 power play effort while halting 4/5 on the penalty kill.

The all-important first period of a new series is usually one for a feeling out period. As mentioned in the preview this morning, Texas had a chance to take charge with special teams, and that's what happened.

With a Marlie in the box, Travis Morin sniped one so quick it got waved off at first. On review, it was a clear goal from every angle, and the Stars took the early lead. Two minutes later, Justin Holl scored from the corner after his attempted pass bounced off Texas D-man Reece Scarlett and in.

The power play struck again for the Stars with Curtis McKenzie scoring on a skillful play. Brnet Regner found McKenzie at the opposing blue line ready to jump and he beat Sparks high blocker for the 2-1 lead, which Texas would take to the break.

Each team potted two more in the second period. Frederik Gauthier got his second of the playoffs on a one-timer as he snuck to the slot uncovered. Austin Fyten collected a nice goal off the pass from Matt Mangene on the halfwall, and Morin extended the lead with some fancy stick work from Justin Dowling leading to the initial shot. Ben Smith would score a squeaker of a goal with 15 seconds left in the frame to make it 4-3 Texas at the second intermission.

Toronto found another gear to start the third period. Mason Marchment scored just as a Texas penalty expired and Martin Marincin put the Marlies ahead for the first time in the game with his first of the playoffs just two minutes later. Marincin was all alone in front and got a second chance at the puck to score.

Down 5-4, Justin Dowling put the team on his back for a second and went in alone from his own blue line, finishing off his own shot for the 5-5 tie game early in the third.

Toronto wasn't done as the power play finally broke through for the Marlies. Trevor Moore came off the bench with a new twig and one-timed it past McKenna for the 6-5 lead.

McKenna would keep Texas in it with a huge breakaway stop on Dmytro Timashov with two minutes left and then head for the bench with 90 seconds remaining. Texas couldn't get established on their 6-on-5 and fell 6-5.

Mike McKenna stopped 28 of 34 while Garret Sparks halted 32 of 37. Texas and Toronto face off again tomorrow at the same time for Game 2.

Tonight's lines:
Morin-Dowling-McKenzie
Dickinson-Hintz-Markison
Elie-Dries-Flynn
Mangene-Fyten-L'Esperance

Bodnarchuk-Scarlett
Heatherington-Regner
Bayreuther-Nyberg

McKenna

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
O'Brien, Payne, Calderone, Kelleher, Gurianov, Rallo, Hansson, Paliotta, Robertson, Laberge, Desrosiers, Caamano (scratch)

Tonight's attendance was 8.217, a sellout.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Toronto - June 2 2018

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