Marlies draw first blood against Syracuse

The Marlies had goals from six different scorers on the way to a 6-4 win Thursday night in the opening game of the North Division Final series.

Adam Brooks, Dmytro Timashov, Travis Dermott Mason Marchment, Pierre Engvall and Ben Smith – the latter into an empty net – scored for the Marlies, to the delight of 5,896 home fans.

Brooks and Marchment, along with Trevor Moore comprised what was the best forward unit of the night. Moore’s creativity was evident on a backhand pass from behind the goal to a waiting Engvall in the slot for the Marlies’ fifth goal.

“They stood out for me,” said coach Sheldon Keefe after the game when asked specifically about Brooks and Moore. “They were just guys that I thought were really good on the ice so we changed our lines up a little bit. That’s a real positive for us to have from two guys that started at the bottom of the lineup.”

Despite the victory, Toronto’s players and coach left Ricoh Coliseum knowing that there’s room for improvement.

“We are well aware that we need to be a whole lot better than we were today. It was a sloppy hockey game and one that we were not very good in,” Keefe said.

Indeed turnovers and defensive breakdowns by the Marlies allowed Syracuse to stay close.

“We have to be better in a lot of areas,” said Moore, who was named the game’s first star with two assists. “They played well and they were missing some key pieces, so we know we’ve got to be better.”

The Crunch’s scratches included two of their top producers in the 2018 playoffs: Matthew Peca and Gabriel Dumont.

Garret Sparks made 28 saves for the win in net.