What had been a mugging has been turned into a street fight.
Down three games to one, the Toronto Marlies could be knocked out of the playoffs tonight at the Ricoh Coliseum.
When last seen in these parts, the Marlies were setting sail for Syracuse down two games to nothing and their prospects seemed bleak.
They left with a power play that in the series was clicking at a measly six per cent. Syracuse goalie Karl Goehring, a five-foot-eight, 28-year-old goalie was resembling the second coming of Jacques Plante. The Marlies had scored only twice in the first two games in Toronto.
Since then, the Marlies have pumped 12 goals past Goehring, routed him in one game in Syracuse and saw a two-goal margin with less than half a period to play morph into an overtime victory for the Crunch in Game 4.
The storylines have changed dramatically.
Game 5 of this wildly evolving series is tonight at the Ricoh Coliseum at 7:30.
“We expect the same thing,” said Marlies Captain Ben Ondrus. “We’ve got to treat it like a Game 7 and we have to win.”
Marlies coach Greg Gilbert said there was little sense in lamenting the blown game in Syracuse.
“Shame on us, we started to kind of absorb everything instead of taking the game to them and being the hunter. We made our own bed and we have to sleep in it, but today’s a new opportunity.”
Marlies goalie Scott Clemmensen agreed the team was better off than when it left for New York State.
“I think we stepped it up after the second game and kind of got a lot of confidence from Game 3, offensively. In the last two games, Goehring has at least looked more human.
That makes a big difference going into tonight’s game.”
Expect Clemmensen to start his 12th straight playoff game tonight.
For casual watchers, John Mitchell has distinguished himself in this series. The veteran centre has scored six goals and notched eight points in 11 games. Kris Newbury and Bates Battaglia have both potted four goals from the Marlies.