TORONTO - The losing streak is over.
The Toronto Marlies got back in the win column by downing the Lake Erie Monsters 2-1 before 1,904 fans at Ricoh Coliseum in AHL action on Wednesday. The Marlies, who earned at least a point through their first 13 games of the season, had suffered two straight regulation losses entering the contest, including one to Lake Erie last Saturday in Cleveland.
Captain Ben Ondrus scored the game-winner for the Marlies, while Darryl Boyce added two assists.
All the scoring came in the game's first two periods as Toronto protected goalie Justin Pogge (4-1-2) well in the final frame, allowing its North Division rivals just two shots over the final 20 minutes.
Toronto coach Greg Gilbert knew the key to preserving the victory was neutralizing the Monsters' top two lines.
"They're a pretty good offensive club, they've got two lines that are quite potent and quite capable of scoring goals, so we knew we had to shut them down and we did that by puck possession and making smart decisions with it and good body position and creating the turnovers," Gilbert said. "It's good for the guys, they played a real smart, heady period."
After nearly 30 minutes of scoreless hockey to start the game, Toronto's Jeremy Williams finally found the net when he one-timed a pass from Boyce past Lake Erie stopper Jason Bacashihua for his fifth tally of the season.
Ondrus put the Marlies up 2-0 with a yeoman-like effort late in the middle frame on a shorthanded breakaway. The Toronto captain found a way to fight off Monsters defenceman Stephen Margeson, whose constant stick-tugging on Ondrus from behind prompted a delayed penalty, and slid the puck along the ice past Bacashihua's stick side.
However, the two-goal lead didn't even last a minute as Lake Erie struck back less than a minute later, while Toronto's Jay Harrison was still in the box. Standing at the side of the net, the Monsters' Chris Stewart whacked a puck out of mid air and into the net after it hit Pogge in the chest and bounced to his left.
That was as close as Lake Erie could get.
Notes: Defenceman Phil Oreskovic, 20, who played three games with the Marlies last year, was called up from the ECHL for his first AHL action of this seasona After being a healthy scratch for two games, left winger Simon Gamache was back in Toronto's lineupaThe Marlies outshot Lake Erie 27-17.