The Calder Cup Final series between the Toronto Marlies (the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ AHL team) and the Norfolk Admirals (the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s AHL team) has been an interesting one, but after a strange goal won Game 3 in overtime, the Admirals are just one more win away from raising their Cup.
In the regular season, the Admirals started putting together consecutive wins. Then, seemingly, they never stopped, setting a record at 28–15 home games and 13 road games, all in a row, all wins for Norfolk. It blew the previous AHL winning streak of 17 (the 2004-05 Philadelphia Phantoms) out of the water and is a little shy of the 21 home game win streak the Detroit Red Wings put up this year.
The Marlies also had a good season–the same can’t be said of their parent club, though–and made pretty quick work of their first three playoff matchups. They swept the Rochester Americans and took care of the Abbotsford Heat and Oklahoma City Barons in five games each.
But now the Admirals have built up a commanding (pardon the pun) series lead and are one win away from tasting Calder glory, all because of a bad, bad bounce. In Game 3, tied at zero after regulation, the Admirals’ Mike Kostka dumps the puck into the Marlies’ zone from center ice. Toronto’s goalie Ben Scrivens leaves his net to go play the puck, but then it bounces off the stanchion and slips into the empty net before anyone can do anything about it.
Check out the video, and sense the deflated mood in the Ricoh Center, here:
This goal was so upsetting to Toronto coach Dallas Eakins that he said he’d prefer someone to kick him in the gentleman’s area with steel-toed boots than to lose a game like this. Ouch.
Interestingly, this goal shouldn’t have ever been allowed at all. The AHL actually released a statement on the matter declaring that the on-ice officials made a big mistake in this play. They should have blown play dead on an delayed offside call (AHL rule 83.4), but failed to do so, although the bylaws disallow game result changes based on mistakes like this, so the Admirals’ 1-0 win stands.
The 3-0 score in this series reflects the way the Stanley Cup Final started. The New Jersey Devils bounced back to elongate the series and at least prevent a 4-0 sweep. Time will tell if the Marlies are motivated enough from this heartbreaker to try to change the tide of this series, too. They will play Game 4 at home on June 9.
Read more from Emma Harger here.