By Jack McCarthy
THE CANADIAN PRESS
ROSEMONT, Ill. — The Toronto Marlies used two power-play goals to grab an early lead, and goalkeeper Drew MacIntyre turned back 37 shots in a 5-2 American Hockey League playoff victory over the Chicago Wolves on Friday.
The Marlies claimed a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal opener at Allstate Arena.
Centre Trevor Smith opened the scoring with his first goal of the post-season, a power-play goal on a short backhand at 10:54 of the first period.
Toronto converted another power-play chance at 14:55 as centre Peter Holland slipped a backhand over the glove of Wolves goalkeeper Jake Allen.
The teams were at even strength in the second as Greg McKegg scored his second goal of the playoffs at 5:02 with a slap shot for a 3-0 lead.
The Wolves got on the board five minutes later as Christian Hanson dumped a short rebound shot past MacIntyre. Chicago winger Michael Davies cut the deficit to 3-2 at 17:26, beating MacIntyre on a one-on-one.
Toronto restored a two-goal lead at 3:53 of the third period. Winger Carter Ashton slipped while shooting but his wide, wobbly shot was deflected off Allen’s stick into the net.
The Marlies closed out the Wolves on Sam Carrick’s fourth post-season goal at 17:19.
The series resumes Saturday in suburban Chicago then shifts to Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum next Wednesday for at least two games, and three if necessary.
The post-season series is the first between the teams since 2008. The Wolves went 4-1 on the way to their most recent Calder Cup.