June 4, 2014
TORONTO– The Toronto Marlies were in a great spot, up two goals late in the second period with a berth in the Calder Cup final on the line. But it all came to an end as the Texas Stars rallied with six unanswered goals to eliminate Toronto with a 6-2 victory in Game 7 of the Western Conference final.
The Marlies were about to enter the second intermission ahead 2-0 before everything started to unravel for them as the Stars scored twice in 52 seconds to tie the game heading into the third period.
“Two mistakes, first we made a bad line change then we took a bad penalty 200-feet from Drew (MacIntyre), and all of sudden it’s 2-2,” said Marlies coach Steve Spott. “They’re a good team, give them credit, but we made some bad mistakes.”
Texas then added two goals in a 17-second span early in the third period and Toronto could never find a way to dig out of the hole created.
“It’s only human nature to feel tied to the game and when they’re (owning) you in our own end, I don’t want to say we felt it slipping away but we obviously knew we weren’t dictacting the play— we let it get away from us,” said Peter Holland, who scored Toronto’s second goal.
“I think we just need to digest this for a couple days, it’s a pretty terrible feeling right now… We didn’t do a very good job of overcoming our adversity.”
For the third time in four road games, the Marlies gave up 50 or more shots to the Stars and gave up 189 shots in total while playing in Texas.
Goaltender Drew MacIntyre stopped 44-of-49 shots in defeat and could not be blamed for the loss.
“He was unbelievable, kept us in games, got us to Game 7, won the first two for us, none of those goals were his fault, none of this was his fault,” said Holland.
With a club that featured 15 players on entry-level contracts to open the season, expectations weren’t necessarily high for the Marlies this season. It was looked at as a rebuilding year with the focus on developing prospects. A North Division title and a trip to the conference final was more than many in the media expected. That didn’t mean, however, that the team was satisfied with what they had already accomplished and bowing out in a winnable game was crushing.
Despite the disappointment, Spott had a positive message for his players after the game.
“I just talked about how proud I am of the group, they came to work everyday,” he said. “They made some youthful mistakes, but a real character group.”
The Marlies will have a finally media day later this week. Some players will be back next year while some will move on. Some hope that they proved enough through their run that they may steal a spot at Leafs camp in the fall. And Spott is already looking forward to what he can do with his AHL club next season.
“Next year our plan is to take this another step farther. The frustrating thing is we were in a good spot here tonight up 2-0. We just had a couple mental mistakes that cost us.”
Peter Holland finished the post-season with seven goals and 15 points in 11 games—which is a club record for points in one playoff year
Drew MacIntyre went 10-4 with a 2.08 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in the post-season while averaging over 33 shots against per game
Defenceman Dylan Yeo was replaced in Game 7 by rookie Eric Knodel due to a personal matter. “He was back in Toronto,” said Spott
After producing 12 points in his first seven playoff games, Jerry D’Amigo was held to just two goals in seven games against Texas
The Marlies were forced to play Game 6 and 7 without Josh Leivo and Korbinian Holzer because of injury
Texas will face the St. John’s IceCaps in the Calder Cup final