TORONTO - The Toronto Marlies scored three goals in the final two minutes of play to climb back and top the Syracuse Crunch, 5-3, tonight at Ricoh Coliseum. Syracuse still leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
The Crunch opened scoring with a marker from Adam Erne in the first period followed by Byron Froese early in the second. Toronto responded with back-to-back tallies halfway through the middle frame to even the game for the first time. Syracuse went back on top off a redirection by Erik Condra in the third, but the Marlies put up three goals 33 seconds apart to steal their first win of the series.
Mike McKenna stopped 29-of-34 shots on goal, while his counterpart, Kasimir Kaskisuo, picked up the win with 22 saves in net for the Marlies. Syracuse was able to convert on their one power-play opportunity and stopped 1-of-3 Toronto man-advantages.
The Crunch were first on the board 11:44 into the first period. Froese chipped the puck ahead into the neutral zone for Erne to pick up and beat Kaskisuo on the breakaway. Matt Taormina recorded a point on the opening tally.
Less than two minutes into the second stanza, Syracuse doubled the lead. Matthew Peca controlled the puck off the faceoff and slid it to Taormina at the point. He sent it right into Froese's wheelhouse to make it 2-0 with a one-timer from the left hash marks.
The Marlies kicked off a comeback when they stole one back on the power play halfway through the middle frame. Andreas Johnsson started a give-and-go to Kasperi Kapanen in the right circle before cutting to the slot to net the return feed. Cal O'Reilly picked up the secondary helper.
With 6:08 remaining in the period, Toronto evened the score. Colin Greening picked off a cross-zone pass from the left point and took off down the ice. After crossing the blue line, he dropped it back for Johnsson to pot his second of the game with a slap shot from the top of the left circle.
Syracuse regained the lead nine minutes into the third period. Condra came skating down the center and slid a pass over to Slater Koekkoek in the left circle. He immediately sent a feed right back to the slot for Condra to redirect in while crashing the net. Tye McGinn picked up a point on the goal.
Toronto went on a three-goal rally in 33 seconds to climb back for a second time and eventually steal the win. With 1:56 remaining in the game, Andrew Nielsen ripped a shot from the blue line. McKenna made the save, but the rebound kicked out for Brendan Leipsic to clean up on the back door. At the 18:22 mark, Carl Grundstrom potted another second chance opportunity from the same spot to give Toronto their first lead of the game. Kapanen secured the victory on the breakaway.
The teams return to Ricoh Coliseum for Game 4 tomorrow at 7 p.m.