The regular-season champions are on to round two, but they certainly didn’t make it easy on themselves.
Connor Carrick recorded a hat trick as part of a five-point night and the Toronto Marlies erased a three-goal deficit, rallying for a 6-4 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Thursday night.
A standing-room-only crowd of 7,822 fans at Ricoh Coliseum watched the Marlies sweep the Sound Tigers in three straight to set up a meeting with the Albany Devils in the North Division Finals beginning next week.
Bridgeport opened up a 4-1 lead with three second-period goals, including two in a 78-second span to chase starting goaltender Antoine Bibeau.
But the Marlies scored three times in the final 5:06 of the middle frame and Viktor Loov netted the winning goal 2:51 into the third to lead Toronto to a first-round sweep for the fourth time in the last five years (2012, 2013, 2014).
Carrick’s hat trick was the first by an AHL defenseman in the Calder Cup Playoffs since Steve Wagner scored three times for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Apr. 23, 2011. His five points were the most by any AHL player in a postseason game since Ryan Potulny’s five-point night for Binghamton, also on Apr. 23, 2011.
Christopher Gibson, the former Marlie, made 37 saves on the night in the loss.
North Division Semifinals – Series “C” (best-of-5)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. A5-Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Toronto 4, BRIDGEPORT 1
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 24 – Toronto 3, BRIDGEPORT 0
Game 3 – Thu., Apr. 28 – TORONTO 6, Bridgeport 4
— AHL (@TheAHL) April 29, 2016