TORONTO - In a game that had just about everything, all that was missing was a goalie fight — and even that very nearly happened.
The Toronto Marlies scored four times in the first period and never looked back as they thumped the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-1 on Saturday in American Hockey League action.
Keith Aucoin scored twice and added an assist as the Marlies (8-5-1) got revenge on their local rivals less than 24 hours after losing 6-3 in Hamilton. The local rivalry continues to rage as the teams combined for 121 penalty minutes and the Bulldogs' Zach Stortini was given a game misconduct in the second period.
With Toronto firmly in control, the final two periods was heavy on the rough stuff and light on finesse.
Five minutes into the third period and frustrated with what he felt was Hamilton making contact with him one too many times, Toronto goalie Ben Scrivens had enough and repeatedly shoved Bulldogs forward Brendan Gallagher who was lying on the ice.
Hamilton goalie Robert Mayer didn't appreciate that and tried to make his way up the ice to get at Scrivens but was held back by one of the officials as the scrum at the other end continued. Mayer made it past the halfway line and had to be pinned up against the boards to prevent him from getting to Scrivens.
"No, I was preoccupied," Scrivens said when asked if he saw Mayer coming at him. Scrivens added that emotions got the better of him and he wouldn't normally react to rough play that way.
"I don't intend on it. Even if (Mayer) came down I don't know if I would have fought him," said the Marlies goalie. "That's not my job.
"The last thing you want to do is break a hand or twist a knee in something silly like that."
Leo Komarov deflected a shot from the point for his sixth goal of the season to open the scoring on the power play at 4:15 of the first. Mark Fraser and Nicolas Deschamps then scored 13 seconds apart and Aucoin's first of the night concluded the first period scoring as the game was over after 20 minutes.
"I think everybody getting another night's sleep in their own beds seemed to be a good thing and today was like a different team showed up," said Toronto coach Dallas Eakins as Saturday was Toronto's first home game in almost a month.
"They were attentive, they were full of fire and we had a pushback."
Aaron Palushaj scored at 2:08 in the third to get Hamilton's (5-6-2) lone goal but Mike Kostka restored the five-goal advantage less than a minute later.
"As a team we have to react to different situations and if we kill the first penalty we're not down one-nothing," said Bulldogs' head coach Sylvain Lefebvre. "They're a tough team to defend against when they're on the power play and they have good firepower. We just came up short."
While Aucoin added his second of the night with just over five minutes remaining in the second, the latter two periods were overshadowed by a number of altercations between the two teams culminating with Stortini's game-misconduct for jumping Marlies' forward Kenny Ryan behind the Toronto goal with two minutes remaining.
Stortini took exception to a hit dished out by Ryan, skated over to jump him and unloaded a number of punches. Stortini was also given two minutes for roughing, five for fighting and a ten-minute misconduct.
As Stortini was the only player to get a fighting major on the play, Toronto had a rare seven minute power play that carried into the third period.
The local rivalry, fierce on any day, was likely exacerbated by the fact that the two teams have played five times in just over a month. Things have a chance to cool off a bit as the two teams don't see each other again until Boxing Day.