A-Devils Fall to Marlies in Game Five

The Albany Devils AHL North Division Final playoff series with the Toronto Marlies was all knotted up at two games apiece going into game five tonight. The A-Devils knew they were in a must-win situation and that they would be down a defenseman.

Earlier in the day, the word came down from the American Hockey League front office that Dan Kelly would be suspended ten games for an illegal check to the head of a Toronto player in game four. The hit resulted in a match penalty and this is further discipline. The suspension will be served over as many playoff games as the Devils play, effective immediately (tonight against Toronto), and will carry over to next season (or “the next time Kelly is active on an AHL club roster” according to the press release put out by the AHL).

So with that issue aside, the A-Devils would need to focus on the task at hand: winning game five and taking a 3-2 lead in the series, getting them closer to a Calder Cup championship.

Unfortunately for them, that was not to be. The Toronto Marlies came into Times Union Center and played a thorough game, winning 5-1 and going a game up in the best-of-seven series, pushing Albany to the brink of elimination.

The first period passed with no scoring for either team. In the second, Albany got into some penalty trouble, as Joseph Blandisi was called for delay of game at 1:18. Toronto would convert on this power play, with Connor Carrick scoring (assist to Mark Arcobello) to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead at 1:23.

Toronto would go back on the power play when Damon Severson was called for slashing at 5:32. It took the Marlies a little bit longer to convert on this power play. At 6:38, Connor Brown scored off assists from Josh Leivo and Arcobello. It was 2-0 Toronto now.

More scoring in the second would see Nikita Soshnikov beat goaltender Scott Wedgewood at 15:19 (from Richard Clune and Ben Smith). Toronto had tripled their lead, making it 3-0.

Albany would crawl back into it when, at 17:01, Paul Thompson scored his first of the playoffs from Seth Helgeson and Ryan Kujawinski. The A-Devs had cut the lead to 3-1 going into the second intermission.

In the third period, however, Toronto put the game away when Brendan Leipsic scored at 11:09 (assist to Leivo). Leivo would add an empty netter at 17:52 of the third (Arcobello with his third assist of the night on that goal).

Wedgewood, in the loss, made 18 saves on 22 shots faced. Marlies goalie Antoine Bibeau saw 22 Devils shots and made 21 saves in the win.

The series now shifts back to the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto for game six on Saturday with the home team looking to punch their ticket to the AHL’s Eastern Conference finals and the A-Devils looking to force a game seven next Monday also at Toronto.

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