TORONTO - Shootouts have been an issue this season for the Toronto Marlies. Ben Scrivens might have changed that with one performance.
The second-year pro turned away 18 shots in regulation and all four attempts in the shootout as Toronto edged Lake Erie 2-1 on Wednesday afternoon in American Hockey League action.
With seven victories by way of overtime, the Marlies came into the game as the only AHL team to not have a win in a shootout, losing all three of their previous opportunities.
"We haven't been in a lot of shootouts and I know we hadn't won one yet, but the biggest thing was Scrivens," said Toronto coach Dallas Eakins. "The saves he made were huge and it ignited our bench."
While Scrivens stopped every shooter he faced, Ryan Hamilton and Joe Colborne both scored for Toronto to clinch the win.
Greg Scott scored his 17th goal of the season in regulation time for the Marlies (37-22-7), who beat Lake Erie for the fourth time in five tries on home ice this season. Philippe Dupuis and Jerry D'Amigo each picked up an assist.
David van der Gulek replied for the Monsters (32-26-8), who fell nine points behind Toronto in the North Division standings.
Cedric Desjardins turned away 24 shots in a losing effort.
Toronto went 0 for 5 on the power play while Lake Erie scored once on six opportunties with the man advantage.
Toronto controlled much of the pace in the first period, outshooting the visitors 10-4, however they could only put one goal on the board.
Scott opened the scoring 6:59 into the game after circling out from behind the net and wristing the puck over Dejardins' glove hand.
"My focus before the season started was to get as many pucks to the net as possible and it's starting to work for me," said Scott, who had seven shots in the game.
It took Lake Erie 13 minutes before recording its first shot on goal ??? a shot Scrivens handed easily.
"Sometimes it's hard to go so long without a shot, while other times you want everything to be going on in the other team's end, but today I felt good even with the slow start," he said.
Dean Strong looked to have tied the game for Lake Erie at 7:43 of the second period but his goal was disallowed after referee Darcy Burchell ruled that it was kicked in.
Scrivens held Toronto in the game when they took back-to-back penalties midway through the second but a double-minor to Mike Zigomanis in the final five minutes gave the Monsters the opportunity they needed.
Zigomanis was initially given a minor for goalie interference and was then given an additional two minutes for questioning the call.
"I thought their goalie actually initiated the contact and for me that's the thing," said Eakins. "Ziggy's not a guy who takes stupid penalties and stays undisicipline."
On the power play, van der Gulik redirected a point shot from defenceman Aaron Gens to tie the game 1-1.
In total, Zigomanis picked up four minors on the day, which in return limited his team from taking any chances offensively.
"I certaintly don't like seeing one of our penalty killers going to the box so many times," said Eakins. "It's horrible, you end up running the crap out of your other penalty killers and then you have all these other guys sitting on the bench getting cold. We want to score goals and it's hard to score goals with a man in the box."
Early in the third period, the Marlies had 54 seconds of 5-on-3 hockey but couldn't get the puck past Desjardins, who made a big blocker-save on Colborne in close.
Even though Colborne scored in the shootout, he's now gone 15 games without a goal and it's starting to concern both him and his coach.
"We've been talking a lot, Joe and I," said Eakins. "He's concerned about his production and rightly so. We're trying to work throughout it but he had such a great start that the bar was set high."
The start Eakins is talking about is the eight goals in eight games he scored to open the AHL season and earn a call up to the parent Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a scoreless overtime, Hamilton opened the shootout with a goal.
D'Amigo was stopped but Colborne cushioned the Marlies' lead with a backhand over Desjardins' left pad. Scrivens shut down all four of Lake Erie's shooters despite only having a minor scouting report on them.
"The only guy I really had a hunch on was Rissmiller," said Scrivens. "I faced him in a penatly shot earlier in the year and he went five-hole. This time he faked five-hole so I think he remembered what he did last time too."
The two squads will meet again Saturday when Toronto heads to Lake Erie for their final meeting of the season. The Marlies hold a 5-3-1 edge in the season series.