Marlies one win away after Game 5 romp

Photo: Andy Nietupski

CEDAR PARK, Texas ( … The Toronto Marlies are one win away from their first Calder Cup championship after a convincing 6-2 victory over the Texas Stars on Saturday night.

The Marlies will bring a 3-2 series lead back home with them, with Game 6 set for Tuesday night at Ricoh Coliseum (7 p.m. ET, TSN2, NHL Network, Leafs Nation Network, NHL Network Radio).

Toronto raced out to a 2-0 lead with goals 47 seconds apart in the opening minutes and rolled to the win, scoring more goals in Game 5 (six) than they did in Games 2-4 combined (five).

Andreas Johnsson gathered a loose puck at the Marlies blue line, took off the other way on a breakaway and slipped the puck past Mike McKenna on Toronto’s first shot of the game, making it 1-0 just 1:32 into the contest.

On the next shift, Trevor Moore was tied up in front but still knocked home a rebound of Adam Brooks‘ shot at 2:19, giving the Marlies their first two-goal lead of the series.

Gavin Bayreuther trimmed the deficit in half at 4:06 of the second period when his blast from the center point off an offensive-zone faceoff win caromed off the post and went in behind Garret Sparks.

But Toronto restored its two-goal cushion at 7:43 when Colin Greening snapped a shot home from between the circles, and Calle Rosen made it 5-1 with consecutive goals on great individual efforts, at 8:45 and 17:07. Rosen has three goals in the Finals and four in the playoffs after scoring four in 62 regular-season games.

Carl Grundstrom scored off a two-on-one rush at 11:07 of the third period to make it 6-1 in favor of Toronto, and Sheldon Dries answered 15 seconds later with his ninth goal of the playoffs for the Stars, capping the scoring.

Sparks (13-4) made 23 saves on the night for the Marlies; McKenna (13-7) stopped 17 of 22 shots in two periods of work before turning the goaltending duties over to Landon Bow (seven saves).

NOTES: Toronto improved to 28-0-0-1 this season when scoring the first two goals of a game, and 60-4-1-0 when scoring at least three goals in a contest… The Marlies have not trailed in a series all postseason, and are now 7-0 in games when a series is tied… Texas will be looking to become the first team ever to win Games 6 and 7 of the Calder Cup Finals on the road… Attendance at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park was 6,863, the fifth consecutive sellout in the series… The Finals were tied at 2-2 for the 21st time in the best-of-seven format; the Game 5 winner is 19-1 in the previous 20 series.

2018 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-7)
N1-Toronto Marlies vs. P2-Texas Stars
Game 1 – Sat., June 2 – TORONTO 6, Texas 5 | Recap/Highlights
Game 2 – Sun., June 3 – Texas 2, TORONTO 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 3 – Tue., June 5 – Toronto 2, TEXAS 1 | Recap/Highlights
Game 4 – Thu., June 7 – TEXAS 3, Toronto 2 | Recap/Highlights
Game 5 – Sat., June 9 – Toronto 6, TEXAS 2
Game 6 – Tue., June 12 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN
*Game 7 – Thu., June 14 – Texas at Toronto, 7:00, TSN2, NHLN, LNN
*if necessary… All times Eastern