Carcone's hat-trick performance helps Marlies even series 2-2

Gordon Brown
BarnBurner Sports Writer

@gordbrown_

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Toronto (4) Charlotte (3) Final (OT)

Photo credit: @TorontoMarlies

TORONTO — The Toronto Marlies defeated the Charlotte Checkers in overtime by a score of 4-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Michael Carcone delivered a hat-trick performance, including the overtime winner, to send the Marlies to Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. 

It was a physical showcase onward from the opening puck-drop.

Colin Greening set the tone early with a bombastic hit on Janne Kuokkanen to generate momentum for the home team. Toronto struggled to maintain it but did not surrender many chances on the defensive side as a result.

Michael Carcone opened the scoring at 17:12 of the opening frame to give Toronto a 1-0 advantage. The 23-year-old received a pass along the half-boards from Adam Brooks before wiring a slap shot past the 2018-19 AHL most outstanding goaltender, Alex Nedeljkovic, who was distracted by Mason Marchment’s screen.

Defensive breakdowns aside, both Nedeljkovic and Kaskisuo proved to be solidifying forces of their respective teams.

The Checkers roared back in the second period and produced a shorthanded goal to even the score 1-apiece. Nicolas Roy tallied the equalizer following Zach Nastasiuk’s feed from behind the goal line, eluding Rasmus Sandin in the process. Kasimir Kaskisuo was stripped behind his own net by Nastasiuk leading up to the goal.

Tensions were running high with series momentum hanging in the balance.

Despite squandering a power-play opportunity, the Marlies remained persistent until the second period buzzer. Although, Marchment was charged with a tripping penalty at 19:34 and would leave his team down a man to begin the third—a costly mistake.

Charlotte pulled ahead 2-1 at 1:08 of the subsequent period with a strike by Jesper Sellgren—his second goal of the playoffs. The Marlies tallied an equalizer four minutes later, however, Andrew Poturalski would restore Charlotte's lead 3-2 with a short-side snipe past Kaskisuo just moments later. 

Poturalski extended his playoff points lead to 17, two ahead of San Diego’s Adam Cracknell, while Trevor Carrick’s assist gives him points in eight consecutive games.

Toronto responded with a goal from their leading regular season and playoff point-getter, Jeremy Bracco, to knot the game 3-3. Bracco now ranks third overall in playoff points with 14. Carcone and Chris Mueller drew assists on the play.

The score remained 3-3 at the end of regulation time to necessitate overtime for the first time in this series.

Overtime lasted all of 7:29 before Carcone completed the hat-trick to lift the Marlies 4-3 over Charlotte.

Timothy Liljegren broke up a play at the defensive blue line before finding Carcone up with wing, bursting with speed into the opposing zone before rifling a shot past Nedeljkovic. Once the lamp was lit, a flurry of hats rained onto the ice to commemorate his three-goal performance. 

Puck drop for Game 5 is set to go tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. EST at Coca-Cola Coliseum. An opportunity to take a commanding 3-2 series lead and another step towards the Calder Cup Final is on the line for either team.