The Toronto Marlies took down the Milwaukee Admirals 5-2 on Saturday to open a 2-0 series lead.
A best-of-five series, the Admirals already find themselves on the brink of elimination after two home contests against the Marlies.
One of the hotter teams in the AHL entering the postseason, the six-seeded Admirals were shutdown on consecutive nights by the three-seeded Marlies.
“They’re doing a great job of bottling us up. We’ve got to find a way to get pucks past them,” Milwaukee forward Mark Van Guilder told Admirals Roundtable. “They’ve done a good job of bypassing us on the forecheck. We’ve just got to do a better job; learn from our mistakes and move forward. The little success we’ve had is when pucks have gotten deep on the forecheck.”
Forward Sam Carrick scored his third goal of the series in the second period to put the Marlies up 2-0 and the Admirals had little pushback against the the Toronto attack through the game’s first 40 minutes.
After Friday night’s 6-2 blowout, Admirals coach Dean Evanson said his team was strong through the neutral zone, but needed to push the puck into the good areas. Just like in game one, however, Milwaukee’s time in the offensive zone was disjointed and unfruitful.
“We had a four-minute power play and we didn’t generate anything. Then right after that we give them a five on three,” Evanson said. “The whole night–and series–our power play has been very average. We definitely have to be better for sure.”
As the higher seed, the Marlies chose to play the first two games in Milwaukee before hosting the rest of the series, and the “gamble” appears to have paid off. Confident they could at least earn a split while on the road, taking the first two games of the series has the Marlies in prime position as the games shift to their home ice.
“This one is tough. We put ourselves in some pretty bad spots with the penalties we took,” Van Guilder said. “I think out goaltender was awesome tonight, but it’s tough to win a game when you’re shorthanded that much. It hurt our offensive attack too.”
Forward Calle Jarnkrok collected his first goal and second point of the playoffs to cut the Marlies lead to 2-1 in the third period, but Toronto answered the tally by lighting the lamp on the power play for the second time.
Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg will have every chance to make the Nashville Predators roster this fall in training camp, the forwards have four combined points through two playoff games.
Game three in Toronto isn’t until Thursday at 6 p.m. (CST), so both teams will have time to recover and prepare for the important tilt.