Toronto Marlies Tie Series With Texas Thanks to Spencer Abbott Hat Trick

Spencer Abbott scores his second of the game. (Credit: Graig Abel)
It was only a matter of time before Spencer Abbott broke out for the Toronto Marlies. The AHL All-Star had yet to score a goal through ten games in the postseason. Texas was the victim of his scoring outbreak tonight as the second year pro scored a natural hat trick, all power play goals, to lead the Marlies to a 4-1 victory. The win evened the Western Conference Finals at two games each with Game 5 set for Saturday afternoon.

Texas gave up too many penalties and then wasn't clean enough on the kill to negate their truculence. To add insult to injury, the Stars were held scoreless on the power play despite five opportunities.

Drew MacIntyre stopped 26 of 27 shots he saw on the night. Eddie Shore Award winner TJ Brennan collected three assists on the night.

Abbott's first came early in the game. Jamie Oleksiak was called fro cross-checking just 37 seconds into the first, sending Toronto to the power play. Josh Leivo put up the screen for the Abbott shot, and the Marlies beat Nilstorp glove side for the 1-0 lead.

Just under four minutes later, Texas put Toronto on the power play again. As the penalty was coming to an end, TJ Brennan got his second primary assist of the night, making the initial shot on Nilstorp. The puck bounced out to Spencer Abbott, who was completely open in the right wing circle. He lofted it over a sprawled Texas tender for the 2-0 lead.

After twenty minutes, the Stars were being outshot 11-6, an atypical occurrence.

Abbott finished off his natural hat trick on the power play in the second period. Mike Hedden picked up a questionable roughing call. After being ridden into the board by Kevin Marshall after a shot, Hedden shoved back and got called by the crew of Terry Koharski and Dave Lewis. As the kill commenced, Travis Morin lifted the puck out of bounds from inside his zone. That set up a 1:56 long two-man advantage for the Marlies.

Spencer Abbott would not be denied. From the slot, he went stick side on Nilstorp for the 3-0 lead. Texas would put the pressure on late in the period, outshooting Toronto 8-4 over the back half of the middle frame. It was to no avail as the Stars ended 40 down 3-0.

Texas gave it their best effort in the final twenty minutes. At the halfway point of the period, they were outshooting Toronto 7-1 and earned their first shots lead of the game at 25-24.

A late power play gave Texas a further shot advantage but it wasn't enough to mount a comeback. Radek Faksa collected a late moral victory goal with an assist to Matej Stransky, breaking up the shutout bid for MacIntyre with less than two minutes left.

The Stars and Marlies will head to an all-important Game 5 on Saturday afternoon in downtown Toronto. With the Toronto win, Game 6 back in Cedar Park on Monday will be necessary to decide the series.

Tonight's lines:



Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Labrie, Guptill, Troock, Hulak, Vause, Wrenn, Byström, Desrosiers (scratched)
Klingberg, Dowling, Campbell, Petersen (injury)

Today's attendance was not available at publish time.

AHL Gamesheet - Texas at Toronto - May 28 2014


  1. Still shaking my head over the dubious officiating in this series. It has been polar opposites from what we have seen over the last 5 years in the AHL where more often than not early whistles and marginal calls tend to make the vast majority of games look more like Disney on Ice rather than Gordie Howe old time hockey. The Marlie continue to play a style I would expect to see in a single "A" barn and not in an environment where we hang our hat on preparing talent to play in hockey's largest stage. When it comes down to it though I don't blame the Marlies they are simply taking the path that gives them the best chance to win, I blame the NHL/AHL head of officials for not better monitoring the quality of their officiating crews.

    Okay now that that's said I still think the Stars take the series. I expect them to take the next two games and win in 6, worst case they win in 7. Even though the Marlie wins have been lopsided they have been by virtue of uncharacteristic play by the Stars and exceptional goaltending by Toronto, both which odds are wont hold up in the Marlies favor.

    For the Stars to win they need to accomplish two things, both of which the Stars have proven they are exceptional at over the course of the season. First the Stars have to stop letting the Marlies scoring first. The style of play the Marlie's have adopted gets a a huge advantage when playing a lead and is at a equally huge disadvantage while playing from behind. Second thing is the Stars have to have a power play that evokes some "fear" in Toronto. Our Special teams have been as bad as we have seen it all year, if that is fixed and we score first these are easy wins for Texas.

    I believe Willie will take the next couple of days to take things apart and rebuild them and we will see a different team in game 5 and beyond. I don't see Toronto as a team that is equal to Texas from player to player and line to line.

    But of course I've been wrong before...

  2. The fact that the Marlies couldn't score a goal without a special circumstance is a good sign for the Stars. The Stars are the better skilled team and just have to stay out of the box or fight the Marlie's best power play guys in an attempt to take them out.
    I hope Willie plays Labrie instead of Jokipakka. Not that Jokipakka has been bad, he just isn't big enough to play against the Marlies. Labrie is a bulldog and would be a great addition on the blue line against the Meanies.
    That having been said, the Marlies seem to be taking themselves out. Their physical play seems to be injuring more of their players every game. Maybe they'll just end up running into one another on Saturday, like they did with MacIntyer.

  3. I absolutely agree. Love Dad.


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