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Pogge Leads Marlies

Thursday, 05.22.2008 / 10:41 AM ET / Mike Ulmer's Blog
By Mike Ulmer  - Mapleleafs.com commentator
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Pogge Leads Marlies
Twenty-four hours after being the sheep, it was the Toronto Marlies turn to play the Wolves.

The Marlies won their first game of their Calder Cup semi-final against the Chicago Wolves with a heretofore unknown combination: Justin Pogge in goal and plenty of offence.

They now trail the best-of-seven series three games to one. Game 5 is in Chicago Friday night at the Allstate Arena, home, it should be noted, of The Good Hands People.

(TORONTO) -- The Marlies scored more goals in the second period than they had managed in their first three games of the series and another win would bring the Marlies back home for a 4 p.m. Sunday date.

A comeback, of course, seems on the face of it, excruciatingly difficult but you can’t argue with history.

“We were down 3-1 in the last series and now we’re down 3-1  again,” said Colin Murphy, a two-goal scorer on the night. “We’re confident we can beat these guys and we showed it tonight.”

The Marlies never trailed thanks to Murphy’s two and singles from Andy Wozniewski, Chris Harrington, Staffan Kronwall and Alex Foster. Chicago’s goal came from Joel Kwiatkowski on the obligatory two-man advantage. Wozniewski’s goal was the first power play marker for the Marlies in 19 advantages.

The rest of the story was written by Pogge, making his first start 19 games into the post-season. With Scott Clemmensen relegated to the bench, the 22-year-old Pogge, the Leafs top prospect, was excellent, aggressively challenging shooters without surrendering position and controlling his urge to do something with every puck dumped behind the net.

“I was comfortable,” said Pogge. “The guys let me see shots. It gets old but when you’re not playing, you’ve got to stay prepared. It’s true. Anything can happen.”

Down 3-0, Marlies coach Greg Gilbert reasoned there was nothing to lose.

“Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. We’ve got two good goalies and Clem’s played well. Pogge’s been working hard in practice. Sometimes you just have to make a change.”

“He’s played world juniors and he’s been on the big stage,” said Murphy. “It’s not new for Pogge but it is at this level. He’s a confident kid and he played well tonight.”

“They came on strong early, they got the breaks and took advantage of it,” said Chicago coach John Anderson. “Friday we’re going to put the pedal to the metal.”

The Marlies meanwhile, were able to put the collar on Jason Krog for the second consecutive night. Krog torched them for five goals in the first two games but had just one assist in the pair of games in Toronto.

The Marlies outshot Chicago 35-31.

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