TORONTO - Defenceman Alexander Sulzer scored a pair of second-period power-play goals to lead the visiting Milwaukee Admirals over the Toronto Marlies 6-2 in American Hockey League action on Saturday night.
Forwards Nick Spaling, Ryan Jones, Mike Santorelli and Anders Thuresson also scored for the Admirals in front of an announced crowd of 2,793 at Ricoh Coliseum.
Santorelli assisted on both of Sulzer's goals and extended his point streak to nine consecutive games, while centre Cal O'Reilly was in on all three power-play markers.
"That team has a lot of skill guys who can finish," said Marlies coach Greg Gilbert. "And we gave up Grade A opportunities all night, down the middle, that we usually don't allow."
Captain Ben Ondrus and Jiri Tlusty replied for the Marlies.
"It's always nice to get a goal," Ondrus said, "but the big thing is we lost a big game tonight".
It's the second win in a row for Milwaukee as the Admirals improve to 13-7-1 on the season. They also beat Hamilton on Thursday for an all-Ontario sweep while Toronto falls to 10-10-2.
"These guys aren't stupid hockey players," Gilbert said. "They know what went wrong tonight and what we have to do to fix it. I don't think we played one full period of our kind of hockey tonight".
Milwaukee was 3-for-5 on the power play, while Toronto went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
"Two of their three power-play goals came on direct shots, we didn't step into the shooting lanes and block enough pucks," Gilbert said. "We just didn't do that tonight."
The Admirals' Mark Dekanich made 30 saves to win the battle of the backups, while Marlies goalie Adam Munro stopped 23 of 29 shots. Milwaukee starter Drew MacIntyre was recalled by the parent Nashville Predators earlier in the day after their No. 1 goalie, Dan Ellis, sustained a minor injury in practice. Munro, starting in place of No. 1 Justin Pogge, dropped to 2-3-0 on the season, while Dekanich improved to 4-2-0.
"It's a loss, it's disappointing," Munro said. "We're not going to get too many victories giving up six goals a game.
"There were a couple I could've saved, and given the team a chance to win."
The Marlies opened the scoring when they solved Dekanich late in the first period to lead 1-0 before the Admirals rallied to take a 3-2 advantage through 40 minutes.
Ondrus introduced some excitement to a quiet opening frame when he deflected Phl Oreskovic's slaspshot from the point past Dekanich at 19:52. It was just the second goal in 22 games this season for the right winger; Ondrus, who had 14 goals in 59 AHL games last season, hadn't scored since Oct. 19 against Grand Rapids.
"It was a play where we got the puck to the net," Ondrus said. "It was a simple play. Maybe we need more simple plays".
The teams traded power-play goals early in the second period as Sulzer's slapshot from the point eluded a screened Munro at 2:17, and then Tim Stapleton's centring pass deflected off Tlusty's skates in the slot and past Dekanich at 4:04.
Milwaukee tied the game at 2-2 less than three minutes later when Spaling, cruising through the slot, one-timed a pass from Thuresson into the gaping net as Munro was tangled up with Admirals winger Triston Grant. The officials ruled that Grant had been pushed into the crease by a Marlies defenceman, and the goal was allowed to stand.
Sulzer fired his second power-play marker of the game and just his third goal in 21 games this season past Munro with 12 seconds remaining in the middle period, giving Milwaukee a 3-2 edge heading into the final frame. Sulzer's wrist shot from the blue-line somehow made it through the traffic in front and past a screened Munro.
The Admirals broke it open in the third period, scoring three times in the first nine minutes to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Jones, with his fifth goal in seven AHL games since being sent down by the Predators, skated down the left wing and drove hard to the net before putting a deke on Munro and sliding the puck under the Marlies goalie at 1:52. Six minutes later, Santorelli scored on the power play when he burst in on Munro and slapped a hard shot that beat the Toronto netminder on the blocker side and went in off the right goalpost at 7:50. Less than a minute later, Thuresson snapped a shot past Munro on a 2-on-1 break at 8:42 to make it 6-2 for the visitors.
The Marlies travel to Hamilton today (on Sunday) to face the Bulldogs.