Spencer Abbott scored his first three goals of the playoffs in succession on three Toronto power plays and the Marlies pulled even in the Western Conference Finals with a 4-1 win over Texas in Game 4 at Ricoh Coliseum on Thursday night.
The best-of-seven series is squared at two games apiece with Game 5 set for Saturday afternoon in Toronto.
Abbott’s first two goals came within the first 5:14 of the game to give Toronto an early lead. He whipped a wrister from the center point past a screened Cristopher Nilstorp to open the scoring at 1:36, and then cleaned up the rebound of a T.J. Brennan shot to put Toronto ahead 2-0 at 5:14.
The Marlies have scored the game’s first goal in all 11 of their playoff outings.
Abbott, a 2013-14 Second Team AHL All-Star, then found an opening in the slot and completed the hat trick during a 5-on-3 advantage at 7:05 of the second period, giving the Marlies a 3-0 lead.
That score held up until late in the third period. Moments after Toronto killed off a 6-on-4 Texas power play late in the third, Jerry D’Amigo hit the empty net from just outside his own blue line for his sixth goal of the postseason with 3:29 left.
Texas spoiled the shutout bid with 1:42 remaining as Matej Stransky intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line and fed Radek Faksa, who snapped a shot from between the hash marks past the blocker of MacIntyre to make it 4-1 in favor of Toronto.
MacIntyre (9-2) stopped 27 of 28 shots in halting a two-game losing streak. Nilstorp (7-3) turned aside 24 of 27 shots for the Stars.
Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
1-Texas Stars vs. 3-Toronto Marlies | Series Snapshot
Game 1 – Fri., May 23 – Toronto 5, TEXAS 1
Game 2 – Mon., May 26 – TEXAS 6, Toronto 3
Game 3 – Wed., May 28 – Texas 3, TORONTO 2
Game 4 – Thu., May 29 – TORONTO 4, Texas 1
Game 5 – Sat., May 31 – Texas at Toronto, 3:00
Game 6 – Mon., June 2 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
*Game 7 – Tue., June 3 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
*if necessary… All times Eastern