By Sean Shapiro
THE CANADIAN PRESS
CEDAR PARK, Texas — Toronto Marlies coach Steve Spott didn’t let his team dwell on its first loss of the Calder Cup Playoffs, a 6-3 setback against the Texas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference final.
The Marlies had won their first eight playoff games before Game 2, but the streak was derailed as Brett Ritchie and Scott Glennie each scored twice for Texas— which fired 52 shots at Toronto’s net.
“We turned the music on right away,” Spott said referring to the team’s post-game dressing room. “I went in and said a couple things about what we knew to do better. Then I said, ’when we leave here, I’m a believer negativity is a wasted energy,’ and we turned the music on and we get back to work.”
The Stars have mustered 102 shots through two games and Toronto goalie Drew MacIntyre has stopped 95 of 101 shots.
“We gave up, in my mind, three free goals,” said Spott. “We’ve got to be smarter and we’ve got to be tighter, the margin or error this time of year is slim.”
Glennie’s second goal gave Texas a two-goal lead with less than six minutes remaining in the third period after the teams traded five goals in the second. Spott said he felt Glennie’s goal, which came on a rebound after Mike Hedden drove hard to the net, ended Toronto’s comeback effort.
“I thought we had some good push back when went to the third and then we gave up a soft goal,” said Spott. “A coverage issue that we got beat on and then it ends up in the back of our netathose soft goals on some of those coverages, we’ve got to address.”
Chris Mueller’s fifth goal of the playoffs capped the barrage to give Texas a 4-3 lead 61 seconds before the second intermission.
Before Mueller’s goal Glennie and Ritchie scored for Texas, while Josh Leivo and Peter Holland countered for the Marlies.
Glennie’s goal, which gave the Stars a temporary 2-1 lead, was the first time the Marlies trailed since the regular season finale against the Rochester Americans - a streak of 512 minutes five seconds.
“Not any disrespect to Texas, but I don’t think we were on our game tonight and they pounced on that,” Marlies defenceman T.J. Brennan said. “They’re a good team and they took advantage of a lot things we didn’t do (in the second period).”
Earlier Toronto had opened the scoring on its first shot 4:22 into the game when Jerry D’Amigo took advantage of a Texas turnover and beat Christopher Nilstorp over the right shoulder for his fifth goal of the playoffs.
Travis Morin added an empty-net goal for the Stars while Nilstorp had 27 stops for the win.
The 30-year-old Swedish netminder made his biggest stop with 13.5 seconds left in the second period on Stuart Percy. Percy had an apparent open net, but Nilstorp reached out and around a screen to make the glove save with his right hand.
“Oh, (Nilstorp) played unbelievable tonight,” Stars forward Mike Hedden said. “That save he made at the end of the second, I think it really lifted the guys on the bench and carried the momentum into the third period.”
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum.