Marlies even series with Syracuse

The Toronto Marlies scored all their goals in the first period en route to a 3-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, evening their second round playoff series at two games apiece.

Coach Sheldon Keefe made a pair of lineup changes following the team’s Game 3 win, 24 hours earlier. Rich Clune was inserted on the fourth line in place of Dmytro Timashov, and defenceman William Wrenn took a spot on the blue line previously held by Rinat Valiev.

Clune made his presence felt by converting on a rebound at the edge of the crease, tying the game at 1-1 just 1:06 after Syracuse had opened the scoring.

“He’s been around for a long time and he knows we’re in a tough situation, and he in turn is in a tough situation with us,” Keefe said following the game. “He’s been terrific. He makes our younger players accountable, and pushes them to be their best.”

Special teams were the difference in the game. The Marlies scored a pair of power play goals to extend their lead before the end of the opening frame. Kerby Rychel found the net on a nifty backhander, and Trevor Moore also scored with the man advantage.

At the beginning of the second period the Crunch made a goaltending switch. Mike McKenna was replaced by Kristers Gudlevskis, and the 2014 Latvian Olympic goalie was perfect the rest of the way.

Marlies’ netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo held the fort, making 17 saves in all.

Game 5 is in Syracuse on Saturday night.