The Toronto Marlies are looking for redemption, tonight, at Ricoh Coliseum! Game 2 is at 7:00, Marlies trail in the series 1-0! Go Marlies Go!
Troy Ward knows his team can get flustered occasionally. So when the Toronto Marlies scored early in the third period to get back into their American Hockey League playoff game with Abbotsford, the Heat coach decided to take a strategic timeout.
It turned out to be a good move.
Max Reinhart had a goal and an assist the Heat held on to beat the Marlies 3-1 Tuesday in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal.
“It was a great call by our coach,” said Heat goaltender Danny Taylor, who was impressive as the Marlies outshot the Heat 15-5 in the third period. “It was just a good way to keep the heart rate down and settle down and just manage that third period.”
Reinhart opened the scoring at 15:24 of the first period. Toronto goaltender Ben Scrivens was taken out of the play when one of his own players checked a Heat player into him during a scramble. The puck ended up on Reinhart’s stick who scored into a wide open goal.
“I saw him lying down and I ended up with quite a bit of time,” Reinhart said. “Everyone kind of lost sight of it and I was lucky enough to be sitting on top of the puck and it bounced right to me.”
The goal was Reinhart’s second of the post-season. He also assisted on Chris Breen’s second period goal that ended up being the game-winner. Guillaume Desbiens added Abbotsford’s third goal into an empty net with just under a minute and a half into the third.
Taylor made 31 saves in net to pick up the win for Abbotsford.
Matt Frattin had the lone goal for Toronto. Scrivens made 26 saves in a losing effort.
“These are two very evenly matched hockey teams,” said Toronto head coach Dallas Eakins. “The two goals they got were just basic mistakes. It was nothing extraordinary.”
Reinhart, Calgary’s third round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, was front and centre as the Heat doubled their advantage just over eight minutes into the second period.
After collecting the puck near the left corner, Reinhart moved towards the back of the goal. He first passed the puck to himself off the back of the net, then had a clear passing lane back to the left point where Breen’s shot through traffic beat Scrivens.
“It’s one of those ones I think I probably would have liked to have stood up earlier in the play,” Scrivens said. “But you’ve got to respect the guy who’s kind of all alone at the side of the net too so it’s one of those things where hindsight’s 20-20 but it’s nothing to raise alarms about.”
Toronto closed the gap early in the third to get the 4,934 fans going. Joe Colborne led the rush up the right side and threw the puck towards the front of the goal where it deflected off Frattin and past Taylor.
Game 2 in the series goes Thursday before shifting to Abbotsford for Games 3, 4 and 5 if necessary.
Notes: Both teams swept their respective first round series…Toronto hadn’t played in eight days while Abbotsford hadn’t played in six…The teams each won twice in their four regular season games against each other.
If you’re looking for tickets to tonight’s game, go here!