The Texas Stars are typically trouble for the Toronto Marlies. Texas dominated them in last year’s (close by the wins column) Western Conference Finals, and leading into tonight, were up 2-0 in the season series. But Toronto was keen to show that past performances were not going to affect the present, and skated away with a 4-3 victory to open their road trip.
Of all the possible people, Petter Granberg decided that he was going to pinch and take a crack at scoring. It was his only shot of the game, but five minutes into the first, you better believe that he put that puck in the back of the net for his first goal of the season. This capped off one of the best periods that the Marlies had played the entire season, outshooting a team that typically dominates them by a two to one ratio.
The lead was one that Toronto was able to carry for a decent period of tie, but as the second period neared its end, so did Christopher Gibson’s shutout bid. Brendan Ranford took advantage of a penalty to Jamie Devane and tied the game with a minute and change to go in the frame. Brendan Mikkelson took it back early in the third, but Ranford was back with another goal just twenty seconds later. Things looked in doubt when Jyrki Jokipakka gave Texas the lead a few minutes later, but in the game’s closing moments, Matt Frattin finished off a spectacular tic-tac-toe play to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Stuart Percy played the role of hero, going on a breakaway and beating Jack Campbell for the game winner just before the game could switch to 3-on-3.
Let’s go with Percy. Not only did he get the game winning goal, he was involved in the play, he was on for three of the four goals for, and most importantly, did all of this in his first game back from a concussion. Definitely deserves a ton of kudos for that.
- Christopher Gibson stopped 21 of 24 shots tonight. Enough to get the win, enough to not be considered an awful game, but not a particularly good one either.
- Stuart Percy, Petter Granberg, and Brendan Mikkelson combined for three goals tonight. Heading into this game, they had combined for three goals on the season.
- Mikkelson was tied with Matt Frattin for the shot lead, each of them taking five and contributing a third of Toronto’s offence.
- The Marlies have points in their past eight games (4-0-4). Don’t look now, but they’re back to 0.500 for the first time in a few months. Could this be a sign of the ship starting to settle?
- Toronto’s next game is tomorrow night against the San Antonio Rampage.