MARLIES 4, SOUND TIGERS 1
The Toronto Marlies took control early in the second period and never let up en route to a 4-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday night at Webster Bank Arena.
A four goal second for the Marlies took the bite out of the Sound Tigers, who held a 1-0 lead after a strong first period in their Calder Cup Playoff opener.
Halfway through the first period the Sound Tigers had the best look at goal when Sebastian Collberg fired a one-timer from the right face-off circle at Marlies’ goalie Antoine Bibeau. Minutes later it was Justin Florek that broke through for the first goal of the game to give Bridgeport the 1-0 lead. After a Toronto turnover by T.J. Brennan, Florek collected the puck and fired a wrister past Bibeau’s glove and right into the top corner.
Michael Dal Colle came within inches of doubling the Sound Tigers lead on their second power play of the first period, but Bibeau blocked his backhander. It was up and down early as both teams got shots off but Bridgeport controlled the second half of the first period, and finished with a lead in shots 20-12.
The first Sound Tigers penalty kill came early in the second period after Patrick Cullity went to the box for slashing. The penalty proved costly as the Marlies evened the score thanks to a Brennan tip in past Stephon Williams. It could have been worse for Williams and Bridgeport but the net-minder stood tall between the pipes to keep the score tied at 1-1.
The Marlies’ momentum continued and William Nylander gave Toronto the lead with 11:24 left in the period. Nylander controlled the puck at the blueline where he would fake a pass towards the middle before he ripped a laser over the shoulder of Williams and into the top corner.
The Marlies swarmed the Sound Tigers with two goals in just 16 seconds at the end of the middle frame. First, it was Nikita Soshnikov who snapped a wrister past the glove of Williams to increase the lead for Toronto. Then with .3 on the clock, Conner Brown beat Williams on the same side to add one more tally to the Toronto total.
Play was fluid in the third period as time ticked off quickly with no penalties for either side, but the Sound Tigers could not break through against Bibeau. After Bridgeport finished the first period with a lead in shots, and a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard, the Marlies outshot the Sound Tigers 27 to 12 the rest of the way. Williams made 35 saves in the loss while Bibeau stopped 31 for Toronto.
Bridgeport will try to even up the first round series when they take the ice against Toronto for Game 2 tomorrow night at Webster Bank Arena.
Dal Colle – Kearns – Wright
Halmo – Jones – Fritz
Florek – Holmstrom – Collberg
Gomes – Cliche – Markison
Czuczman – Mayfield
Wotherspoon – Lafranchise
Finn – Cullity