Marlies win series in 5 games; onto semi-finals
May 9: Marlies 3 at Abbotsford 2 (OT)
Forward lines:: Scott-Zigomanis-Hamilton, Mueller-Kaddri-Frattin, D’Amigo-Dupuis-Deschamps, Orr-Acton-Wilson
Defence pairings: Blacker-Gardiner, Fraser-Holzer, Mikus-Gysbers
Goaltenders: Scrivens (Win 69:02 minutes played, 29 saves, 2 GA), Rynnas (0:00)
Mike Zigomanis’ power-play goal in overtime clinched the second-round playoff series win for the Toronto Marlies. The 3-2 overtime win gave Toronto a five-game victory over the Abbotsford heat in the Western Conference Semi-Final.
With the win, the Marlies improved to a perfect 4-0 on the road in the 2012 playoffs and will face either Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the Western Conference Final.
For the fourth time in five games played in the series the Marlies gave up the first goal of the game. Paul Byron scored on a shorthanded breakaway for Abbotsford at 3:03 mark. The Heat took a 2-0 lead when Krys Kolanos scored his team-eading fifth goal of the post-season.
The Marlies responded just over a minute later with Jake Gardiner’s point shot finding the back of the net for his first career AHL goal – in either the playoffs or regular-season.
The score remained 2-1 period until late in the second when a flurry of traffic in front of Heat goalie Danny Taylor resulted in Matt Frattin jamming home his fifth goal of the year. There was some confusion was as to whether Zigomanis had gotten his stick on the puck prior to the disc crossing the goal line, but the game-tying marker was eventually awarded to Frattin.
During a scoreless third period Marlies coach Dallas Eakins continued to roll all four of his lines. Taylor and his Toronto counterpart Ben Scrivens dueled to a stalemate at the end of regulation time.
In the extra session both teams had chances to score, most notably Nazem Kadri having a backhand opportunity thwarted on a second effort by Taylor. After Zigomanis drew a high-sticking foul on Abbotsford’s Hugh Jessiman, the ensuing power-play saw excellent puck movement by the Marlies. A point shot by Gardiner found its way through a seam where Zigomanis had no trouble depositing a rebound into a wide open cage.
Zigomanis and both goalies – Taylor and Scrivens – were named the game’s three stars. Scrivens continued his stellar post-season play, having allowed just eight goals over the 5-game series.
It was the third playoff series win in Marlies history and first series ever clinched at home. During Toronto’s 2008 Calder Cup run, the team won a pair of Game Seven showdowns at Ricoh Coliseum against San Antonio and Syracuse.
While awaiting the winner of the Oklahoma City-San Antonio conference semi-final, the Marlies will have a chance to rest some of their injured bodies, most notably forward Joe Colborne who has been sidelined with a finger injury.