Marlies, Stars take it to the limit

Carter Ashton scored twice, Drew MacIntyre made 36 saves and the Toronto Marlies forced the Western Conference Finals to the limit with a 3-1 win over the Texas Stars in Game 6 on Monday night in Cedar Park, Texas.

The teams will meet one more time on Tuesday night at the Cedar Park Center to decide the conference championship.

Toronto jumped out to a 1-0 lead for the 13th time in as many games this postseason, as T.J. Brennan‘s shot from the left point was stopped by Cristopher Nilstorp but an unchecked Ashton shoveled home the rebound for his third goal of the playoffs at 8:45 of the first period.

Trevor Smith made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 2:28 of the second period, finishing off a tic-tac-toe passing play by one-timing a feed from Sam Carrick in the low slot.

Toronto killed off a 93-second 5-on-3 advantage for the Stars late in the second period, then potted a big insurance goal as Ashton took a saucer pass from Spencer Abbott on a 2-on-1 rush with 55.7 seconds left, making it 3-0 through 40 minutes.

The Stars finally cashed in on a power play and beat MacIntyre with 3:25 to go in regulation. Curtis McKenzie, the AHL’s rookie of the year in 2013-14, redirected a point shot by Maxime Fortunus during a 6-on-4 advantage to end Texas’s 0-for-22 power-play slide.

MacIntyre (10-3) and the Marlies killed off seven of eight Texas power plays on the night. Toronto went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

Nilstorp (8-4) made 22 stops as the Stars outshot the Marlies by a 37-25 margin.

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 2, TORONTO 1
Game 6 – Mon., June 2 – Toronto 3, TEXAS 1
Game 7 – Tue., June 3 – Toronto at Texas, 8:30
   *if necessary… All times Eastern