TORONTO - Christian Hanson's 10th goal of the season in the second period paced the Toronto Marlies to a 4-3 victory over the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs in American Hockey League action Saturday.
Justin Hodgman, Tim Brent and Victor Stalberg also scored for the Marlies in front of 7,084 fans at Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto's largest crowd of the season.
The win was the Marlies' 12th in 20 games at home this season. It came on the heels of a disastrous 1-7 road trip and improved their record to 17-20-7 on the season.
Ben Maxwell, David Desharnais and Greg Stewart replied for the second-overall Bulldogs, whose record dropped to 27-12-7 on the season. Blue-liner Yannick Weber assisted on all three Hamilton goals.
Marlies goaltender Joey MacDonald stopped 25-of-28 shots for the victory. At the other end, Bulldogs starter Cedrick Desjardins was pulled less than 10 minutes into the game after the second Marlies goal in favour of Curtis Sanford who allowed two goals on 18 shots.
The Marlies came out flying in the first period, with Hodgman scoring the first goal less than five minutes into the game. It was 2-0 before the 10-minute mark when Hanson showed great patience on the power play, choosing not to shoot and sliding a cross-crease pass to Brent who potted the puck into the open net.
Stalberg made it 3-0 one minute into the second period before Hamilton broke MacDonald's shutout bid with a laser-like wrister from the high slot over the goalie's glove. MacDonald looked to be interfered with on the play, as his helmet was knocked off by an errant Hamilton stick as the shot came. No penalty was called on the play.
Hanson then restored the two-goal lead after a misplay at the Hamilton blue-line resulted in a 2-on-1 with Kyle Calder. Desharnais made it 4-2 with just over two minutes to play in the second period during a two-man Hamilton power play.
What began looking like a Marlies walkover got tight when Stewart scored two-and-a-half minutes into the third. But the Marlies held on despite being out-shot 28-26 on the night.
Hodgman's goal was his first of the season in his second game since being acquired from the Rockford IceHogs. Brent's power-play goal was his second in as many games since returning from an injury that forced him to miss the first 42 contests of the season.
In a penalty-filled game that included 26 infractions, Toronto was 2-for-7 on the power play, while Hamilton went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Marlies play their third game in three days Sunday afternoon at the Ricoh Coliseum when they host the Syracuse Crunch. Hamilton doesn't play again until Wednesday when they visit the Rockford IceHogs.
Notes: Marlies Tim Brent, Justin Hodgman and Ryan Stokes made their home debuts. . . Marlies played their first home game after a 1-7 road trip. . . It was just the sixth road loss of the season for the Bulldogs. . . Two Bulldogs, goaltender Cedrick Desjardins and defenceman P.K. Subban, played in Tuesday's AHL All-Star Game. . . Three Stars: Christian Hanson (first), Ryan White (second), Tim Brent (third).