Ben Scrivens frustrates Heat shooters making 37 saves
May 3: Marlies 5 vs. Abbotsford 1

Marlies scorers: Hamilton (1), Frattin (3), D’Amigo (6), Holzer (1), Kadri (2)
Heat scorers: Rheault (3)
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Forward lines:: Hamilton-Zigomanis-Kadri, Colborne-D’Amigo-Frattin, D’Amigo-Dupuis-Deschamps, Rosehill-Acton-Scott
Defence pairings: Blacker-Gardiner, Fraser-Holzer, Mikus-Gysbers
Goaltenders: Scrivens (Win 58:52 minutes played, 37 saves, 1 GA), Rynnas (0:00)

The Toronto Marlies didn’t disappoint their home fans at Ricoh Coliseum Thursday night, getting goals from five different skaters in a 5-1 victory over the Abbotsford Heat. The win equaled the Western Conference Semi-Final at one game apiece with the series going back to B.C. for the next three games.

Goaltender Ben Scrivens was spectacular in net for Toronto. Many of his 37 saves came courtesy of his quick glove hand at close range. Scrivens had to be particularly solid on the Marlies penalty-kill as Abbotsford was awarded a total of three 5-on-3 power-plays, the first of which lasted the full two minutes.

“We can’t be giving them three chances on the 5-on-3,” said Scrivens after the game. “As good as the score looked, we could easily have let them back in the game. That’s something we have to address going forward.”

For the second straight outing the Marlies fell behind 1-0. But unlike Tuesday night when Heat goalie Danny Taylor wasn’t beaten until the third period, Toronto quickly responded. After receiving a pass from Nazem Kadri, captain Ryan Hamilton used a creative backhand to forehand move to convert on a power-play to tie the game. The first period appeared to be headed for a deadlock before Matt Frattin rifled a shot from his off wing to put his team ahead 2-1 with just over 23 seconds remaining.

The Marlies came out flying in the second period, with both goals originating from the same spot on the ice, from the same source. Defenceman Korbinian Holzer, known primarily as a shut-down man, unloaded a shot from the right point that was initially stopped by Taylor. But Jerry D’Amigo was there to pounce on the rebound to collect his team-leading 6th goal of the post-season. Just under two minutes later, Holzer once again got the puck on net from his point position, only this time no save was made.

With a 4-1 lead in the third period, the Marlies frustrated the Heat at every turn. Abbotsford coach Troy Ward elected to pull Taylor with over 10 minutes remaining in regulation. The strategy was an attempt to take full advantage of a five-minute major assessed to Toronto forward Greg Scott for kneeing. Following subsequent, non-coincidental penalties to both teams, the Heat were pressing with five skaters – but no netminder – against the Marlies’ three. The move backfired as Nazem Kadri scored into the empty net with 8:30 still left to play, ultimately rounding out the scoring.

“Scrivens was good, he’s been good for us all year,” said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. “Our team just has such great confidence in him back there, and he’s so calm and collected that I think it rubbed off on the rest of the players.”

Holzer was named the game’s first star in recognition for his two-point effort. “It’s always nice to get out a couple of hits out early,” said Holzer of the feisty start to the game. “They play very physical, we try to match it. We came out hard and I think we played sixty minutes all the way through.”

Game 3 of the series is on Saturday.