Toronto Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks provided a two-word reply when requested about his confidence stage for Game 7 of the Calder Cup last.
“Extraordinarily excessive,” he mentioned.
He’ll want to be significantly better than he was in Game 6 if the Marlies are going to win the American Hockey League championship.
Sparks had a uncommon off-game Tuesday and the Texas Stars took benefit for a 5-2 victory. The groups will face off once more Thursday night time within the deciding sport on the Ricoh Coliseum with the league title on the road.
Brimming with confidence after an emphatic 6-2 highway win in Game 5 on Saturday, the Marlies dominated the opening interval however could not discover the again of the online.
Stars goaltender Mike McKenna was in high type as Toronto outshot Texas 16-Four within the opening 20 minutes. The Marlies stored up the tempo early within the second interval but it surely was the Stars who opened the scoring at 6:46.
Texas takes benefit
Curtis McKenzie flattened Martin Marincin because the Toronto defenceman was getting again to his toes after taking a success behind the online. Justin Dowling secured the unfastened puck by the boards and located McKenzie in entrance and he gave Texas the lead.
It was McKenzie’s 20th level (11-9) of the post-season, briefly shifting him right into a tie with Toronto’s Andreas Johnsson (8-12) for the AHL playoff lead.
A Sparks miscue led to the Stars’ second purpose at 14:57. The netminder fanned on a clearing try and Dowling recovered it, sliding the puck to Travis Morin for the tap-in.
“You’ll be able to’t be turning pucks over like that to a group like [Texas] that is opportunistic,” Sparks mentioned. “In case you’re going to try this, you could have to make saves and I did not try this in the present day.”
Austin Fyten hushed the group much more with an unassisted purpose at 17:03. Sheldon Dries added a short-handed purpose at 3:08 of the third interval and Sparks was changed by backup goalie Calvin Pickard.
Calle Rosen and Justin Holl scored for the Marlies. Colin Markison had an empty-netter for Texas.
“We discovered a method to get it completed,” McKenzie mentioned. “We got here right here for 2 wins and we have completed half of that now. So it is going to be an enormous check on Thursday.”
Toronto outshot Texas 45-24.
“We let a chance get away from us tonight,” mentioned Marlies coach Sheldon Keefe. “But it surely’s over. It is over and we’ve to transfer on. We’ve a chance now, we get to play a one-game shot on house ice for a championship.”
Within the third interval, the Marlies scored the early purpose they had been in search of as Rosen snapped a floater from the purpose previous McKenna at 1:37 with Johnsson selecting up an help.
That received the towel-waving crowd of 8,783 again into it. When Pierre Engvall drew a slashing penalty simply over a minute later, Toronto followers might really feel a comeback approaching.
However simply 17 seconds into the facility play, Dries broke in alone and chipped a backhand previous Sparks. Holl made it a two-goal sport at 15:12 however Markison iced it at 16:24.
“I believed we received just a little bit too comfy with our sport and the way simple it may be,” Keefe mentioned. “After which the sport shifted.
“And when the sport shifted, they’re too good a group, they’re too opportunistic and so they make you pay.”
The Marlies continued to battle with the person benefit. Toronto went 0-for-Four on Tuesday and has scored only one power-play purpose in 16 alternatives.
The Marlies rolled via the primary three rounds of the playoffs, profitable 10 straight video games earlier than dropping Game 2 to Texas.
Toronto has not gained a Calder Cup for the reason that franchise moved to the Ontario capital over a decade in the past. The St. John’s Maple Leafs had been renamed the Toronto Marlies for the 2005-06 season.
The Marlies are the first improvement program for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The final Toronto AHL affiliate to win the Calder Cup was the New Brunswick Hawks in 1982.
The Stars final gained the league championship in 2014 with a five-game victory over the St. John’s IceCaps.