This was a game that those at Mile One Centre will never forgot and nor will those watching online.
The Toronto Marlies trailed 8-4, yes eight to four, 47 seconds into the third period, in what had already been a barn burner. Fucale in net for St. John’s had been as terrible as he was brilliant the previous evening while Bibeau looked a little stale after a spell up with the Leafs and was replaced by Sparks after the eighth goal.
Neither team was playing much in the way of defense however and trailing 6-4 coming into the final twenty minute of regulation, Toronto gave up two terrible goals in six seconds to accentuate the point.
From that moment on the Marlies took control of the game, playing with the “freedom” of seemingly being out of the game as the IceCaps, somewhat understandably, sat back a little.
The comeback began at 2:39 as Arcobello tallied his second of the game.
Less than two minutes later and it was a two goal game again as some good work along the boards by Nylander allowed Leivo to complete a wraparound move.
There was still 11:56 to play when Toronto drew within one. A power play marker, a beauty snipe from Leivo a few feet above the hash marks
Inside 30 seconds of that goal both Hyman and Frattin hit the post as the home town St. John’s were rocked back on their heels.
The pressure was relentless and yet another power play almost tied the game up but Leipsic’s shot and the rebound from Frattin were oh so close but not close enough.
The ugliest goal of the night would finally tie this game up at 8-8. Carrick throwing the puck toward the net from the right circle and I’ve still no idea how it found it’s way past Fucale. That would be the end of the net for the young St. John’s net minder as he would be replaced by Eddie Pasquale.
There was still five minutes to play in this incredible third period and Toronto went close to winning in regulation, no more so than with a second on the clock but Carrick would be denied by Pasquale in tight.
It would be off to overtime for the second straight night for these two teams and this time it was Toronto who prevailed. It took just a buck fifteen to record the victory as Nylander came around the net and back out the left side before sniping home to cue the celebrations.
In what now feels like a life time ago and another game, the scoring almost began inside the first ten seconds as a surging drive from Loov so nearly forced an early opening goal.
Holloway would test Bibeau twice at the IceCaps dominated the first seven minutes and deservedly took a lead at 4:56. Holloway again, this time with a wraparound effort that provided an easy rebound chance for Hudon to bury.
A rocket shot from Frattin brought a fine glove save from Fucale and it seemed to turn the tide for the Marlies who played much better for the remainder of the period.
Nylander with a perfect feed for Brennan steaming into the left circle and his one-timer tied it up at 9:25.
A power play three minutes later saw Toronto take the lead as Arcobello sniped home short side on Fucale after the feed from Leivo. Twenty-five seconds later and it was 3-1 as Soshnikov fired top corner from the top of the right circle.
Bibeau was not as bad as his IceCaps counterpart in this encounter and his save on Fournier, who had snuck behind the Marlies defense, was a fine stop to preserve the advantage.
A sprawling left pad save to deny Dumont on a short-handed chance was equally as brilliant as Toronto took a two goal lead into the middle frame.
The second period is one the Toronto Marlies will want to forget but I’m not sure the coaching will allow them too. The video coach will be busy next week if he isn’t already.
The lead was erased in a two goal blast inside of three and half minutes of the period beginning.
McCarron putting home a rebound from Dumont and then Ellis beating Bibeau with a perfect shot that clipped the post on it’s way in.
A penalty kill from Toronto would give the team some legs and lead to drawing themselves a power play.
Holl would strike the iron with a long bomb effort that hit the post so square it came back to him. An effort from Percy provided a huge rebound that wouldn’t fall right for those in a blue jersey.
A rush from Toronto would end with a scoring chance for Gauthier but lead to a 2 on 1 rush the other way for St. John’s. Thomas scoring upstairs on Bibeau to put the home team up 4-3 on their third straight goal. Timed at 11:16, Toronto responded inside 40 seconds as Hyman put home the rebound from yet another huge shot from Percy.
Yet another offensive zone rush would see the Icecaps heading back the other way in a hurry and Bibeau would be disappointed by his effort on the shot by Ellis, which seemed to clip his shoulder before floating and then dropping into the net behind him.
Up 5-4 and the home team and their fans wanted more. They would receive just that on a following power play as after so many opportunities went begging, Holloway, an offensive force all night, struck to put the IceCaps up by two. It could have been three with 90 seconds remaining in the middle frame but Daniel Carr’s effort struck iron and the power play that followed would be killed by Toronto.
The madness that followed echoed all that had gone before it, in the craziest game I’ve ever witnessed and not one that either team will want to repeat in a hurry.
Post Game Notes:
This game tied the AHL record for highest-scoring regulation tie: 8-8 through 60 minutes.
The second time this season that Toronto has scored eight goals in regulation.
Josh Leivo has a four point game (2G/2A) as did William Nylander (1G/3A).
Richard Panik added three to his assists total for the season while Sam Carrick had just his second multi-point game of the season (1G/1A). Carrick lead the way with five shots on net.
Another two goals for Mark Arcobello who continues his streak of contributing in each of the six games he’s played for the Marlies.
Stuart Percy tallied two helpers for his first multi-point game of the season and Nikita Soshnikov’s goal was his fifth on the year.