TORONTO — Luke Glendening’s goal at 15:57 of the third period spelled the end of Toronto’s season as the Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to beat the Marlies 4-3 on Tuesday, and win the AHL Western Conference semifinal 4-2. Grand Rapids will face the Oklahoma City Barons in the conference final.
Glendening was in front of Toronto goalie Drew MacIntyre and had an open net to shoot after picking up a rebound.
The Marlies had goals from Carter Ashton, Paul Ranger and Will Acton while Tomas Tatar scored twice and Jan Mursak chipped in one for the Griffins.
MacIntyre made 27 saves for Toronto while Petr Mrazek made 14 for the Griffins.
Ashton gave the Marlies a 1-0 lead at 4:15 of the first period when he led a Toronto rush up the right side. He threw what was a hopeful shot on goal but Mrazek had all kinds of trouble blocking the puck entirely and it somehow ended up getting through.
Toronto made it 2-0 at 19:57 of the period when Mike Zigomanis won a faceoff that went to Ranger. His quick shot also somehow fooled Mrazek and managed to trickle across the line.
The Griffins controlled much of the play in the second period and were quickly rewarded four minutes into the period when Tatar’s fine solo goal on the power play cut the margin to 2-1.
But just 37 seconds later, Toronto capitalized on Mrazek’s poor clearance from behind his own goal off a Marlies dump-in. Jerry D’Amigo picked up the clearing attempt and found Acton, whose slap shot from the centre of the ice restored Toronto’s two-goal lead.
Mursak got the Griffins’ second goal at 10:04 of the third after splitting a pair of Marlies defencemen and beating MacIntyre from close range.
Just 28 seconds later, Tatar tied the game after Francis Pare found him with a no-look backhand pass from right in front of the net. Tatar flipped it over MacIntyre who scrambled in vain to cover his exposed right side.
Grand Rapids was 1 for 5 on the power play, while the Marlies were 0 for 3.