KOLARIK'S HAT TRICK LEADS RAMPAGE TO 6-3 PLAYOFF WIN
/ Arizona Coyotes
TORONTO - Rookies Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter helped guide the University of Michigan to the school's 23rd Frozen Four appearance just last week. Now, they're leading the charge as the San Antonio Rampage begin their crusade for the cup.
Kolarik recorded the ninth hat trick in franchise history, with two assists from Porter, to catapult the Rampage to the franchise's first postseason victory, a 6-3 triumph over the Toronto Marlies Friday night at Ricoh Coliseum.
Kolarik, playing in just his second professional game, and Joey Tenute each scored twice to spark a four-goal outburst in the second period as the Rampage took control.
The two alternated goals in the period, beginning with Tenute's marker at 2:28.
Kolarik scored his first professional goal less than two minutes later to put the Rampage up 3-0. His goal was the third tally for the Rampage in seven power-play chances against the league's best penalty-killing unit. Mike Zigomanis, a Toronto native, picked up his second assist of the night, and has two helpers in each game so far.
Tenute later potted his second goal of the period, getting in the path of forward Michel Leveille's pass and depositing the wrister into the back of the Marlies' cage for the third Rampage score in a span of 3:12.
With 14:20 remaining in the second period, the Rampage had a 4-0 lead and already established a franchise-record for most goals in a playoff game.
Toronto briefly interrupted San Antonio's scoring rampage with a goal from right wing Ben Ondrus at 9:52 of the frame.
But 26 seconds later, Kolarik scored his second goal of the period, coming from Porter, as the duo from Michigan connected for the first time professionally to push the score to 5-1. Porter (63) and Kolarik (56) finished second and third, respectively, in points this season in all of college hockey.
The four-goal outburst tied a franchise-record for most in a period, and was the fifth time this season the Rampage have accomplished the feat. Brendan Bell, who was in the Maple Leafs' system from 2003-07, recorded his second assist of the night on Kolarik's goal.
Toronto defenseman Jay Harrison launched a rocket from the blue-line and left wing Bates Battaglia tallied a short-handed marker to make it 5-3 halfway through the final period.
With under eight minutes left, Kolarik added another tally, compliments of a pretty backdoor feed from the 2008 Hobey Baker award winning Porter, to complete the trifecta.
Matt Murley scored the game-opening tally late in the first period, the first of four answered goals for the Rampage. He's scored in five straight games dating back to the regular season, tied with Pierre Dagenais for the longest such streak in team history.
Rampage killed off two-man advantage for Toronto early in the game thanks to fantastic work in the pipes by Josh Tordjman. He robbed John Mitchell with a spectacular glove-save on a backdoor play to keep the game scoreless.
Tordjman made 23 stops to earn the win in his American Hockey League postseason debut.
The Rampage had five players with two points (Tenute, Zigomanis, Bell, Kolarik, Porter). Zigomanis has a seven-game point streak for the second time this season, tying a club season-high. Toronto has outshot the Rampage in only one period through the first two games. The Rampage took 36 shots on goal to Toronto's 26 Friday night.
The series will shift to San Antonio for Game 3, with the puck slated to drop at 7 p.m. at the AT&T Center. The win guarantees the series will go at least five games, meaning there will be a Game 5 on Friday in San Antonio.