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Suglobov Making Impact

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO (CP) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs knew Aleksander Suglobov could score when when they acquired him at the NHL trading deadline for Ken Klee, but they weren't aware of the right winger's toughness.

The Russian prospect opened their eyes with a goal and some impressive physical play in the Toronto Marlies' 5-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs at Ricoh Centre on Wednesday night.

"He's not a big guy, but he's got a lot of skill and he's showing he won't be intimidated by size,'' said Marlies coach Paul Maurice. "That is a real critical element for those kind of players.''

Suglobov, whose 28th goal of the season was his third in four games with Toronto, was part of a dominant effort against Hamilton that gave goaltender Todd Ford his first professional win.

Martin Sagat, Brad Leeb, John Pohl and Ian White also scored for the Marlies (34-25-4-2), who have won two of their last three games. Brad Winchester and Corey Locke scored for Hamilton (30-35-0-4), which has lost six of 10 against the Marlies this season.

The win, in front of a crowd of 4,245, moved Toronto 10 points ahead of the Bulldogs for fourth place in the AHL's North Division.

Ford was thrilled to be a part of it.

"I'm very excited,'' said Ford, Toronto's third choice (74th overall) in the 2002 NHL draft. "It was a great team effort.

"The guys played great in front of me and we shut them down. (The first pro win is )a great feeling.''

The Marlies were first on the scoreboard when Suglobov fired a wrist shot past Jaroslav Halak for a power play goal at the 3:07 mark. Winchester's goal at 9:21 of the first evened the score, and the teams were tied at one after 20 minutes despite Toronto outshooting Hamilton 13-4.

Toronto regained the lead 3:35 into the second when Sagat knocked in a rebound after a great individual effort from teammate John Mitchell. Leeb then deflected a Steve Chabbert shot past Halak at 8:59 of the period for the Marlies' third goal.

Pohl's team-leading 31st goal at 1:58 of the third period gave the Marlies a three-goal advantage. White made it 5-1 with his eighth of the season, a power-play goal at 7:57. Locke rounded out the scoring with his 16th of the year at 10:00 of the third.

Ford, who evened his pro record at 1-1-0 with the win, stopped 25 Bulldogs shots. Halak made 33 saves in the loss, which dropped his record to 5-2-0.

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