Game 3: Syracuse Pushed to the Brink of Elimination as Marlies Strike Early and Often in 7-1 Victory
Toronto (7) Syracuse (1) Final
Sunday, May 6, 2018
Less than 24-hours separated Games 2 and 3 between the Syracuse Crunch and Toronto Marlies, plus travel time sprinkled in. The lasting fatigue of a gruelling double-overtime would have to take a back seat, considering the potential series implications at hand as it transitioned south of the border.
I asked head coach Sheldon Keefe how he would rally the troops for tonight’s 7:00 p.m. start,
“Emotions are high, guys know how competitive and how tight the series is. We’ve taken care of home ice here. Obviously, the greatest challenge in the series is winning one on the road and that was a challenge for us last series as well. We’ve got plenty of reasons to be motivated and competitive.”
He also preached hydration and nutrition in order to rejuvenate for another playoff battle on Sunday night.
One might expect at least a day’s rest following a double-overtime hockey game—but clearly, this was not the case. Regardless, it only appeared to hinder one of two teams as the highly anticipated matchup got underway.
Syracuse decided to stick with the hot-hand in rookie goaltender Connor Ingram, who stopped 55/57 shots despite a losing effort in yesterday’s double-overtime thriller.
That clearly did not matter as the Marlies exploded out of the gate to capture an early 2-0 lead 4:35 into the opening frame, with goals coming just 1:12 apart courtesy of Chris Mueller and Carl Grundstrom, respectively.
Toronto’s dominance continued in the second period, where they extended that advantage to four before the Crunch could even respond.
Miro Aaltonen notched his 1st Calder Cup Playoff goal after redirecting a slick feed by Andreas Johnsson at the 10:39 mark, setting the stage for what would be a high-scoring affair. It took all-but 3:26 off the clock for the Marlies to strike once again, with Colin Greening adding his name to the scoresheet.
Greening pounced on a loose puck and cleanly beat Ingram to increase his team’s lead to 4-0, silencing the Syracuse faithful inside of the Oncenter War Memorial Arena.
Later in the frame, Syracuse finally scored to inject some life into the home crowd and scored on just their 8th shot of the game. Erik Cernak can be credited for that one, although it proved to be a little too late when push came to shove.
The Marlies were not phased by the Crunch nor their roughhousing antics, which saw several scrums erupt towards the end of the second frame.
As the game resumed, Toronto picked up right where they left off and managed to pepper their opponent with three more goals for a 7-1 advantage—which is where the score would stand after sixty minutes.
Trevor Moore picked up a pair, while Andreas Johnsson also chipped in a goal to close out Game 3 on a dominant note. Calvin Pickard even managed to get in on the action and recorded an assist in addition to his stellar 18-save performance.
Syracuse now sits on the brink of elimination as they trail 3-0 in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set to go on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST.
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E-mail - gordon@BarnBurner.ca
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Photo Credit: @torontomarlies