A non-stop parade to the sin bin proved too much for the Toronto Marlies’ stellar penalty killing unit.
Mark Arcobello and Philippe Cornet each had a goal and an assist and Yann Danis made 27 saves as the Oklahoma City Barons evened the American Hockey League Western Conference finals with a 5-1 victory over the Marlies in Game 2 on Friday.
Coming into the game, Toronto had stopped its opponents’ previous 39 power-play attempts. But Arcobello scored four minutes into the game on the man advantage in game that saw 154 penalty minutes, with the Marlies serving 70 minutes.
“We were definitely in the box too much tonight,” said left-winger Will Acton, who scored Toronto’s lone goal. “You can’t take that many penalties against a team like (that). We’re going to have to stay out of the box going forward.”
The Marlies will host the next three games of the best-of-seven series starting on Monday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
Arcobello’s was the only goal on the power play for Oklahoma City in eight chances. Toronto was 0-for-5 with the extra man.
The penalty minutes forced Toronto to use its energy on defence. And by the time Toronto had its chances to score, there was no gas left in the tank.
“A lot of our penalty killing guys are also on our power play and 5-on-5,” Toronto assistant coach Derek King said. “When we were on the power play, we were too exhausted.”
Acton broke up Danis’ shut out bid at 9:21 of the third to make up for being stopped on a breakaway in the second period. It was the winger’s first professional playoff goal.
“Will played really well tonight,” King said. “He has been frustrated not being able to score a goal so he felt good to get that monkey off his back.”
Acton was also involved in a fight with Oklahoma City’s Tanner House with 2:07 left in the game that escalated into a line brawl. Nine players were involved, totalling 92 penalty minutes.
“We don’t want them feeling comfortable,” said Acton. “We wanted to make a statement and let them know we’re going to be a much different team Monday.”
Ryan Keller, Teemu Hartikainen and Chris VandeVelde also scored for Oklahoma City.
With nine seconds remaining in the first period, Hartikainen scored on a slap shot to give Oklahoma City a 2-0 lead and momentum heading into the second.
Cornet scored at 16:49 of the second to make it 3-0 with an assist by Arcobello.
VandeVelde made it 4-1 at 16:25 and Keller added an empty-netter with 2:32 left to play after Eakins pulled goalie Ben Scrivens, who finished with 22 saves on 26 shots for his second loss of the playoffs.
It was Toronto’s first road loss in the playoffs.