The depleted Marlies hosted the Flyers' farm team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It was their second game of the season; the Marlies winning at their first meeting, 3-1, back in October.
It's a good time to be a Marlies fan. The team is only three points away from locking up a playoff spot for the fifth year in a row. The Phantoms, however, need 40 points to make the playoffs, and while I'm no mathematician I'd say that's pretty much impossible.
With many, many, call ups, the Marlies were looking much different than they were the last time I was at a game back in February.
Connor Brown, Byron Froese, Zach Hyman, William Nylander, Nikita Soshnikov, Viktor Loov, Rinat Valiev and Garret Sparks all with the Leafs.— Mark R (@MarkUkLeaf) March 18, 2016
Leivo and Gauthier have not been recalled. They remain on the #marlies roster but are being held out given the injury situation up top.— Todd Crocker (@HockeyCrock) March 18, 2016
This showed in the back and forth action throughout the first period. To start, the Phantoms came hard into the Marlies end, and basically pinned T.J. Brennan behind the net. He was able to get a pass out to Sam Carrick who sped into the Phantoms end with Leipsic. Carrick made a last minute pass to Leipsic who shot, but Phantoms goalie Stolarz got across in time to make the save.
Former Leafs playing for Lehigh Valley were Tim "Who the Fuck is Tim Brent" Brent, and Jay "Steal a car from one strip club and drive to another strip club" Rosehill.
There was no dominant team. Every time the Phantoms got it into the Marlies end the Marlies got it out, and vice versa. Lehigh Valley got the first shot at a power play goal as the Marlies get two for too many men but the Marlies' PK held its own, and there was no goal for the visitors.
Everything seems to go pear shaped for the Phantoms after the halfway mark of the period. They took a holding penalty, followed closely by a too many men of their own, which is followed six seconds after it ends by ANOTHER too many men call. The Marlies' PP got some good chances, but Stolarz was a wall, not letting anything through.
The second started with a little bit more Marlies control, but the Phantoms stayed strong on defense and killed off another Marlies PP. Taylor Doherty took a tripping penalty at the four-minute mark, and while in the Marlies zone, Stalock got his crease crashed, then got snowed. As the dust settled, Tm Brent snuck the shot in, and it's 1-0 Phantoms.
After another play in the Marlies end Doherty and Rosehill jaw at each other a bit but they're kept apart by officials. A few plays later Doherty ended up dropping the gloves with Dalton Smith. They only got a couple shots in before the officials broke it up.
Stuart Percy headed to the box for interference, a third PP for the Phantoms. Frattin quickly follows with a penalty of his own and the Marlies face 1:40 of 5-on-3 penalty killing.
Hurrah! They managed it! No PP goal for the Phantoms! With under a minute to go the Marlies get a PP of their own as Phil DiSimone heads to the box for cross-checking. The Marlies would again start the next period on the power play.
They got a few quality chances, most notably from Sam Carrick and Brendan Leipsic, as the latter shot so hard he fell over. But it was all for naught as the penalty expired, putting the Marlies 0/4 on the power play.
As we hit the halfway mark the whistles are being blown a lot but no penalties come from it. Arcobello gets two for slashing and the Phantoms get another PP, but they fail to capitalize on it before giving up the puck to the Marlies who rush the Phantoms zone. Carrick and Adam Comrie yap and shove behind the Phantoms' net, but the refs keep things clean.
There was another rush from Leipsic and Carrick but neither could finish. They were a great pairing.
DiSimone got another two for slashing and we got 20 seconds of 4-on-4 before another Marlies PP. They set up some great shots but missed too many passes to make the PP effective.
Petr Straka gets a breakaway and scores on Stalock to make it 2-0 Phantoms.
As I was typing that Sam Carrick scored on the power play, and the penalty announcement was two syllables in. Great shot from the point to get it past the crowd in front of Stolarz.
Mark Alt got two for hooking, but it's Mark-Alt-Delete on the Marlies' power play as they don't score.
Then, Brendan Leipsic made some fancy stick work in front of Stolarz to tie the game up 2-2!
Colin Smith tried to score as the clock ran out but didn't, so the game headed to overtime.
In overtime the Phantoms are getting all the good chances in the first minute, with Stalock making some good saves to cover for a turnover or two.
Colin Smith finishes what he started at the end of the third and scores the game winning goal!
The Marlies really turned up the heat at the end of the third period, playing as a completely different team to make the comeback.
The highlight of this game for me was seeing Leipsic and Carrick carry the offense for the Marlies. Half the roster is up in the NHL, with two more sitting "just in case". They really pulled up their socks and carried things, and made the most exciting chances.
The Marlies return to action tomorrow, March 20th, hosting the Providence Bruins at 3 p.m.