The expectations were set high for the Marlies after they finished with the best regular season record in the AHL. The Calder Cup Final was the goal, but to do it, they had to first get past the Hershey Bears.
Losing the first three games of the series left them at a huge disadvantage. Friday's five goal shut out win, complete with a hat trick by William Nylander, raised hopes that the team could somehow get it done.
In the end, it wasn't meant to be.
The first period of today's game had both teams presenting a calmer demeanor than they had previously in the series. There were fewer hits and fewer penalties for both teams. Unfortunately, the one penalty in the period taken by the Marlies cost them dearly.
Rich Clune crashed the Bears net, then inexplicably cross-checked Bears' goalie Justin Peters. On the subsequent power play the Bears quickly took control. 30 seconds later, it looked like they had scored, but the officials waived it off, instead calling for a penalty shot. Bibeau stopped the penalty shot, but, continuing on the power play, the Bears eventually scored the first goal of the game.
In the second period the Bears followed up with two more goals, both in the first three minutes of the period. Now down 3-0, the Marlies were knocked back on their heels and desperate.
Eight minutes into the period a slapshot by Connor Carrick, tipped in by Nylander, finally put the Marlies on the board.
In the third period, Nikita Soshnikov raised the hopes of Marlies' fans by scoring, and making it a 3-2 game.
With two minutes left in the game Sheldon Keefe pulled Antoine Bibeau
We will have much more on the Toronto Marlies season, plus what is coming next season, in the coming days.
Goaltending the difference in Toronto Marlies' playoff exit - PPP
The Toronto Marlies' third round exit to Justin Peters and the Hershey Bears saw goaltending play a major role.