Marlies edge Stars to reclaim Calder Cup final lead

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.

Calle Rosen scores game-winning goal in wild 2nd period

Toronto Marlies' Adam Brooks skates behind the Texas Stars' net in Game 3 of the Calder Cup final. (Twitter/@TorontoMarlies)

Marlies blue-liner Calle Rosen is known more for defending the net than trying to find it.

But he came up with a big goal Tuesday night, breaking a tie game in the second period to lead Toronto to a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars in Game 3 of the Calder Cup final. The win puts the Marlies up 2-1 in the best-of-seven series for the American Hockey League championship.

"It's a great feeling and it was good to keep that lead the rest of the game," said Rosen, who had just four goals during the regular season and one in the playoffs before Tuesday's winner. "It's always good to score goals, and especially important goals. It's just nice to contribute."

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.

"We had won 10 straight, but had some adversity in the first round against Utica where we had a win-or-go-home Game 5," Toronto defenceman Justin Holl said. "I think that was a good experience. For us, it's nothing new, the formula doesn't change day to day so we're just going to keep going at it."

Sheldon Dries had the lone goal for Texas.

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

'We did a great job of it'

"We spent a lot of time in their half of the ice and did a good job with that," Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. "And that took a lot off our defending. When we needed to defend we did a great job of it. As you can tell, there's not much difference between these two teams."

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

Texas opened the scoring 55 seconds into the second period when Dries beat Sparks over his right shoulder.

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

"It's two good teams that aren't really going to get rattled," Keefe said. "I really liked that about our team [Tuesday]. That's one of the things you're worried about on the road is when the home team scores first things can perhaps snowball and get away from you, but our guys just kept working, scored a big goal after that and didn't look back."

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.

Toronto responds

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.

Toronto dominated possession in the final minutes of the second, but Adam Brooks' back-handed 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, while the Marlies went nearly seven minutes without an attempt on goal.

Keefe said the Marlies' response to their first loss in more than five weeks was perfect.

"[Game 2] felt a lot worse than it probably should have just because you haven't lost in so long," Keefe said. "I think it was important for us to pick ourselves up and realize that it's just a loss, and this is how you're supposed to respond. That's what makes the playoffs sweet and that's what manufactures the type of effort we had."