Marlies defenceman Justin Holl ended a triple overtime marathon at Ricoh Coliseum, finding the back of the net on a point shot to give Toronto a 2-1 victory over the Albany Devils and a four-game opening round series win.
Holl’s shot eluded Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood at 6:43 of the third extra period. The game marked the longest outing in Marlies history, and the 12th longest game ever in the Calder Cup playoffs:
— AHL (@TheAHL) April 29, 2017
The Marlies opened the scoring in the first period when defender Travis Dermott blasted the puck from the point to beat Blackwood at the 8:55 mark.
Later in the frame, Toronto sustained a significant injury after Kapseri Kapanen absorbed a high stick to the chin from Albany blue liner Seth Helgeson. Kapanen left for the dressing room and did not return for the remainder of the game. The period came to a chippy end when John Quenneville drilled Dermott into the end boards, earning a two-minute minor for boarding.
The second period was dominated by Blackwood between the pipes for the Devils. The netminder kept the game from being out of reach for the visitors as he made back-to-back saves on terrific scoring chances from Mike Sislo and Andrew Nielsen. Although the Marlies led by a wide margin of 22-8 on the shot counter, the Devils were able to get the equalizer, courtesy of Carter Camper.
Camper’s goal was the beginning of a stalemate that extended until twenty minutes before midnight.
Neither team found the back of the net in the third period, and the Marlies – who won Game 3 in overtime on an early goal by Colin Greening – were hopeful of a similar, efficient result.
However, the Devils were given an enormous chance to win the game and remain in the series after Toronto’s Rinat Valiev (pictured) was assessed a double minor for high sticking. The ensuing penalty kill was highlighted by two huge plays by the Marlies.
First, captain Andrew Campbell made a huge shot block to help preserve the tie. Then, after Brendan Leipsic’s clearing attempt went awry, goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo robbed Nick Lappin for his best save of the night.
The Marlies were awarded a power play of their own in the second OT period. Ben Thomson of the Devils was whistled for hooking, but Toronto couldn’t capitalize.
The stage was set for Holl’s heroics. Holl moved in to the middle of the ice from the blue line and rifled the puck towards the net, past Blackwood, to eliminate the Devils.
The Marlies will face the Syracuse Crunch – the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning – in the North Division Final.
Second round schedule:
Fri, May 5 7:00 pm EDT Toronto @ Syracuse
Sat, May 6 7:00 pm EDT Toronto @ Syracuse
Tue, May 9 7:00 pm EDT Syracuse @ Toronto
Wed, May 10 7:00 pm EDT Syracuse @ Toronto
Sat, May 13 7:00 pm EDT Toronto @ Syracuse (*)
Mon, May 15 7:00 pm EDT Syracuse @ Toronto (*)
Wed, May 17 7:00 pm EDT Toronto @ Syracuse (*)
(*) – if necessary