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Marlies send series back to Toronto

Game 5

The defending Western Conference champions aren’t ready to relinquish their crown yet.

The Toronto Marlies put forward a season-saving effort on Saturday night, defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins, 4-1, to send their second-round playoff series back to Toronto.

The Griffins still hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, but the Marlies will host Games 6 and (if necessary) 7 at Ricoh Coliseum on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The game was scoreless past the midway point of the second period until Spencer Abbott got a piece of Will Acton‘s knuckler and deflected it past Petr Mrazek to give Toronto a 1-0 lead with 9:08 to play in the middle frame.

The duo combined for another goal less than four minutes later, as Abbott found Acton alone in front to make it 2-0.

Morgan Rielly scored his first career playoff goal at 2:20 of the third period, sneaking down from the left point and one-timing home a back-door pass from Greg McKegg.

Grand Rapids got on the board 2:05 later as Luke Glendening backhanded a loose puck past Drew MacIntyre to cut the deficit to 3-1.

Mike Zigomanis scored the Marlies’ second power-play goal of the period with 7:02 to play and the Marlies were on their way to victory.

Toronto, 2-for-17 on the power play over the first four games of the series, went 2-for-7 in Game 5.

MacIntyre (5-3) stopped 32 of 33 shots, including backstopping a 5-for-5 effort on the Toronto penalty kill.

Mrazek (6-4) finished with 20 saves in the loss.

Western Conference Semifinal – Series “L” (best-of-7)
2-Toronto Marlies vs. 3-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Fri., May 10 – Grand Rapids 7, TORONTO 0
Game 2 – Sat., May 11 – TORONTO 4, Grand Rapids 2
Game 3 – Wed., May 15 – GRAND RAPIDS 5, Toronto 4
Game 4 – Fri., May 17 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Toronto 1
Game 5 – Sat., May 18 – Toronto 4, GRAND RAPIDS 1
Game 6 – Tue., May 21 – Grand Rapids at Toronto, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 22 – Grand Rapids at Toronto, 7:00