The Toronto Marlies and Utica Comets are battling it out in round two of the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. Toronto won game one, while Utica won game two, and the series is tied heading into game three on May 3rd in Utica.
On Thursday, April 27th, the Marlies and Comets played in a thrilling game one series opener that needed overtime to decide the winner. Utica opened the scoring with a goal by Reilly Walsh at 6:08 of the first period on the power play. Graeme Clarke would also score for Utica in the first period, and the Comets took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Utica took a 3-0 lead with a goal by Xavier Parent at 2:06 of the second period. The Marlies would answer with three goals of their own in the second period. The goals came from Pontus Holmberg scored at 5:43, Topi Niemela at 7:00, and Logan Shaw at 13:59 on the power play. Both teams would enter the second intermission tied at three.
Reilly Walsh scored his second goal of the game to give Utica a 4-3 lead at 11:08 of the third period. Toronto would answer right back at 11:43, with Logan Shaw scoring his second to make it 4-4. Semyon Der-Arguchintsev scored at 12:41 to give the Marlies their first lead of the game. Utica’s Brian Pinho scored at 19:08 to tie the game and send the game into overtime.
At 18:35 in overtime, Joseph Blandisi scored the game-winner for the Marlies. Coca-Cola Coliseum erupted, and Marlies fans went home happy. The three stars of the game were 1) Joseph Blandisi, 2) Logan Shaw, and 3) Reilly Walsh.
Game Two began the same way as game one. Utica jumped out to a two-goal lead with goals from Brian Halonen at 1:46 and Aarne Talvitie at 12:40. Toronto responded with goals from Semyon Der-Arguchintsev at 13:42 on the power play and Kyle Clifford at 15:09 on the power play. The game remained tied 2-2 heading into the first intermission.
Utica took control of the game in the second period with goals from Nolan Stevens at 06:56, Ryan Schmelzer at 13:25, and Xavier Parent at 14:10. The Marlies failed to respond, and the Comets took a 5-2 lead into the second intermission.
Things went from bad to worse for the Marlies in the third period. Utica got goals from Graeme Clarke at 05:36 and Brian Pinho at 09:00 to make it a 7-2 Utica lead. That would end up being the final of game two as the series heads back to Utica tied 1-1. The three stars of game two were 1) Robbie Russo, 2) Nico Daws, and 3) Graeme Clarke
The next two games will be held in Utica, New York, on Wednesday, May 3rd, and Friday, May 5th.