Richard Clune’s goal with 2:30 remaining in regulation capped a wild third period and sent the Toronto Marlies into the Eastern Conference championship series with a 4-3 victory over the Albany Devils in Game 7 of the North Division Finals at a sold-out Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto on Monday night.
The game was tied three times in the final frame before Clune tucked home the rebound of a shot off the end boards to finally put Toronto ahead for good. It was the first postseason goal of Clune’s nine-year pro career.
The Marlies will face Hershey in the Eastern Conference Finals beginning Friday night.
Toronto struck first in Game 7 when Connor Brown raced in on a partial breakaway and beat Scott Wedgewood for a shorthanded goal just 2:56 into the contest. It was the third goal of the series and sixth of the playoffs for Brown.
The Devils then converted on a power play 2:41 into the third period as Nick Lappin banged in the rebound of Reid Boucher’s shot off a faceoff win by Jim O’Brien. It was the fifth goal of the series for Lappin.
The Marlies tied it back up at 2-2 with 10:53 remaining as Kasperi Kapanen sped through neutral zone, pulled up at the left-wing circle and snapped off a shot that handcuffed Wedgewood (20 saves) for his third goal of the playoffs – and his third in the last four games.
But the Devils answered again with 4:41 remaining on Thompson’s second goal of the night, making it 3-3.
Bibeau (25 saves) and the Marlies withstood the Devils’ pressure late to hang on and advance to the conference finals for the third time in five seasons.
North Division Finals – Series “J” (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. N2-Albany Devils
Game 1 – Wed., May 4 – Albany 2, TORONTO 1
Game 2 – Fri., May 6 – TORONTO 5, Albany 3
Game 3 – Sun., May 8 – ALBANY 3, Toronto 2 (OT)
Game 4 – Tue., May 10 – Toronto 7, ALBANY 2
Game 5 – Thu., May 12 – Toronto 5, ALBANY 1
Game 6 – Sat., May 14 – Albany 4, TORONTO 1
Game 7 – Mon., May 16 – TORONTO 4, Albany 3