Tom Marechek scored 25 seconds into overtime to lead the Wings past the Toronto Rock, 12-11, Saturday at the First Union Center in front of 14,361 fans. The Wings had to win the game in order to remain in playoff contention.
Philadelphia will capture the final playoff spot if Albany defeats Montreal Sunday night. Dallas Eliuk made 46 saves for the win, while Marechek earned MVP honors with five goals and four assists.
It was a physical start to the game as both teams combined for 15 penalties in the first quarter. Dallas Eliuk made his return in goal after a game lost to injury and started by killing off an early Toronto power play. Shortly after the penalty expired, all 10 players on the field paired off in fights.
Two Toronto players were penalized, while four Wings were put in the penalty box, including Jake Bergey, who received a third man in call and a game misconduct. Dan Stroup put the Rock on the board on the ensuing power play, but Keith Cromwell converted on a Marechek pass to even the score. The two teams traded goals two more times for a 3-3 score at the end of the quarter.
Both teams settled down in the second quarter, each scoring three goals. The Wings struck first on Marechek's second goal of the game, but Toronto responded with goals from Doyle and Mike Murray. Tom Ryan and Cromwell each
netted goals for Philly, while Rodd Squire rounded out the scoring for Toronto. The Rock outshot the Wings, 30-19, in the first half.
The two teams continued to battle in the third quarter with two goals apiece. Marechek completed the hat trick in the quarter and Jeff Ratcliffe added a goal for Philadelphia. Stroup and Kim Squire each scored for the Rock.
Philadelphia captain Dave Stilley was called for roughing 17 seconds into the final quarter, but the Wings took a two-point lead with two short-handed goals by Tony Henderson and Marechek. The two teams traded goals (Doyle, Finneran) before Toronto added two by Doyle and Stroup to tie the game at 11 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. Eliuk made a save on Stroup with seconds left on the clock to force overtime.
Marechek led the Wings in scoring with nine points (5G,4A). Five other players scored goals for Philadelphia, including Kevin Finneran (2G), Ryan (1G), Cromwell (2G,2A), Tony Henderson (1G,1A) and Ratcliffe (1G,1A).
Colin Doyle led the Rock in scoring with six points (4G,2A). Five other players scored for Toronto, including Dan Stroup (3G,1A), Blaine Manning (1G,5A), Mike Murray (1G,2A), Rodd Squire (1G) and Kim Squire (1G,1A).