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Carter Ashton's scoring touch returns in Marlies' 5-2 win over Monsters @NHLdotcom

TORONTO - Carter Ashton scored a hat trick to power the Toronto Marlies to a 5-2 victory over the visiting Lake Erie Monsters in on Sunday American Hockey League action.

Ashton broke a 2-2 tie during a goal-mouth scramble when he deposited a rebound into the net past Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard at 6:16 of the third period. Defenceman T.J. Brennan, with his team-leading 21st of the season, gave the Marlies a two-goal cushion 45 seconds later when his point shot trickled through Pickard's legs.

Brandon Kozun closed the scoring for Toronto (33-18-4) with an empty-netter, while centres Spencer Abbott and Greg McKegg collected two assists apiece in front of 4,351 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

Joey Hishon and Mike Sgarbossa scored for the Monsters (23-26-6), who dropped their second game in a row.

Marlies goalie Drew MacIntyre was sharp making 26 saves, while Pickard stopped 18-of-22 shots in net for Lake Erie.

Toronto led 1-0 after the first period and the score was tied 2-2 through 40 minutes.

The Marlies opened the scoring 53 seconds into the first period when Ashton took a pass from Abbott in the slot, cut to the left and whipped a wrist shot past Pickard's blocker. The Monsters had some chances of their own in the opening frame ??? including a two-minute 5-on-3 power play and a breakaway by right-winger Guillaume Desbiens ??? but they couldn't beat MacIntyre.

Ashton gave the Marlies a two-goal edge when he deflected McKegg's point shot past a screened Pickard at 10:02 of the second period. The advantage was shortlived, however, as Hishon put the Monsters on the scoreboard 52 seconds later when he redirected a slapshot past MacIntyre.

Sgarbossa tied it up when he whacked in a rebound for a power-play goal at 18:35 of the middle frame.

Ashton regained the lead for Toronto with his third goal of the game at 6:16 of the third period, and Brennan's goal 45 seconds later sealed the win for the Marlies. Kozun capped the scoring with an empty-netter at 17:51

Toronto went 0 for 3 on the power play while Lake Erie was 1 for 6.

The Marlies and Monsters are off until next weekend, when Toronto visits Lake Erie for back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday.

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