TORONTO - The Syracuse Crunch were first on the board, but for a second night allowed the Toronto Marlies to rally back to take a 3-2 win to even the North Division Series, 2-2, Wednesday night at Ricoh Coliseum.
Adam Erne put the Crunch on top early in the first period, but the Marlies were quick to respond and even the game just over a minute later. Toronto then built a two-goal lead before the first intermission. Ben Thomas pulled Syracuse within one in the second stanza, but the team was unable to build momentum and overtake Toronto.
Mike McKenna turned aside 12-of-15 shots for the Crunch before being relieved by Kristers Gudlevskis to start the second period. Gudlevskis went on to stop all 14 shots he faced. Kasimir Kaskisuo earned the win for the Marlies with 17 saves. Syracuse went 0-for-2 on the power play, while the Marlies were 2-for-4 on the man-advantage.
Erne kicked off scoring just 4:45 into the contest. A waffling puck slid through the Marlies defense and down to Erne wide open in front of the crease. He grabbed the lose puck, turned and lit the lamp.
Just over a minute later, Toronto evened the score. Kerby Rychel's shot from the right circle was stopped, but the rebound dropped down for Richard Clune to score on the second effort.
The Marlies took over the lead while on the power play at the 8:05 mark. Rychel backhanded a shot from the goal line that banked off McKenna's right arm and found it's way in shortside. Kasperi Kapanen tallied a point on the go-ahead goal.
With 3:36 remaining in the first, Toronto made it 3-1 with another power-play marker. Trevor Moore chipped a shot from the end boards that caught McKenna's back and redirected across the line. Cal O'Reilly and Seth Griffith collected the assists.
Syracuse got one back 2:23 into the middle frame. Slater Koekkoek fed Thomas who rifled a slap shot from the high slot while Kaskisuo was screened. Gabriel Dumont earned the secondary helper.
The Crunch couldn't generate momentum through the third period and took their second loss in Round 2. The series shifts back to Syracuse for Game 5 on Saturday at 7 p.m.