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Marlies rally in Texas to move within two wins of Calder Cup

CEDAR PARK, TEXAS—Calle Rosen scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the second period as the Toronto Marlies edged the Texas Stars 2-1 on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the Calder Cup final.

Chris Mueller also scored for the Marlies, who had a 10-game post-season win streak snapped in Sunday’s Game 2 loss in Toronto.

Calle Rosen scored the winner Tuesday as the Toronto Marlies beat the Texas Stars 2-1 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Calder Cup final.
Calle Rosen scored the winner Tuesday as the Toronto Marlies beat the Texas Stars 2-1 to take a 2-1 series lead in the Calder Cup final.  (Christopher Katsarov / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Sheldon Dries had the lone goal for Texas.

All three of the game’s goals were scored in the second period.

Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks stopped 19 shots. Mike McKenna made 22 saves for Texas.

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Game 4 of the best-of-seven series goes Thursday night.

Texas opened the scoring 55 seconds into the second period when centre Sheldon Dries beat Sparks near-post over his right shoulder after getting behind the defence and receiving a great neutral-zone pass from Remi Elie.

Toronto evened the game exactly three minutes later when Mueller found himself open five metres off the back post and easily beat McKenna off a pass from winger Andreas Johnsson.

Toronto peppered McKenna early in the third with a flurry of shots, but the Texas goalie — the first goaltender to play in back-to-back Calder Cup finals for different teams in nearly 25 years following his stint in Syracuse last year — turned away all attempts, including Mason Marchment’s point-blank shot, to keep the hosts within one.

Sparks made two saves late in the third to preserve Toronto’s win.

The game’s first penalty didn’t come until 14:02 into the third when Texas captain Curtis McKenzie was called for tripping, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

A physical game throughout, Sparks took exception to being run into twice midway through the second as the game started to get chippy with a fair amount of clutching-and-grabbing by players, though no fights broke out.

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Toronto dominated possession in the final minutes of the second, but Adam Brooks’ backhanded shot that went over the Texas goal in the final seconds marked the only serious scoring chance.

Both teams went through lengthy stretches during the first period without a shot.

Texas only challenged Sparks once in the first six minutes, with Colin Markison’s shot on a breakaway going well wide of the goal, while the Marlies went nearly seven minutes without an attempt on goal.

Texas winger Roope Hintz also had an open shot right in front of the Toronto net midway through the first, but missed.

Toronto’s best chances in the first all came late in the period.

Brooks’ attempt went just wide after the Marlies regained possession deep in the Texas zone, right-winger Ben Smith’s close-range shot was stuffed by McKenna and defenceman Travis Dermott just missed a goal when McKenna barely got a skate on his shot and the puck drifted just outside of the post.