TORONTO - The Toronto Marlies went toe-to-toe with the best team in the AHL and came out on top.
Toronto dropped the league-leading Manitoba Moose 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
Ryan Hamilton scored late in the first period for Toronto, Stefano Giliati added a second-period marker and Jeremy Williams got the insurance goal early in the third on a power play.
Michael Grabner was the only member of the Moose to beat Toronto goalie Justin Pogge.
Pogge made 21 saves for the win, while at the other end Curtis Sanford stopped 20 shots.
Both teams were playing their third game in three days, with the Marlies winning all three contests they played this weekend. Manitoba was coming off a 5-1 loss in Hamilton on Saturday.
Manitoba (44-19-0-5) leads the AHL and North Division with 93 points. The Marlies (35-26-2-5) currently sit fourth in the North with 77 points and would face the Moose in the first round of the playoffs if each team maintains their current position.
The teams traded goals in the second, with Manitoba tying the game early before the Marlies struck back with a tally that wasn't immediately deemed a goal.
First, just 1:04 into the middle frame, Grabner was sent in alone on Pogge. The slick Austrian skater fired a low, hard shot just off the post and in on Pogge's stick side for his team-leading 26th goal of the season.
Halfway through the period, Toronto answered back with Giliati one-timing a nice pass from Andrew Martens to the top of the net. However, because the puck quickly bounced back out of the goal, the Moose weren't convinced it actually crossed the line and started back up ice. The play was eventually blown dead and, after conferring with the linesman and goal judge, referee Ryan Fraser determined the puck did cross the line before jumping back out of the net, much to the delight of the 4,311 in attendance at the Ricoh Coliseum.
The first period gained a decided edge after Toronto's Alex Foster steamrolled Manitoba defenceman Nolan Baumgartner with a clean bodycheck. Guillaume Desbiens charged toward Foster immediately after the hit and the two fought, with Desbiens getting the added instigator penalty.
Later in the period, Jay Rosehill of the Marlies and Manitoba's Tom Maxwell squared off in a fight near centre ice.
Toronto opened the scoring with just 11 seconds left in the period as Hamilton drove to the net and swatted home a rebound after Foster had put the puck on goal.
Notes: Toronto defenceman Jamie Sifers has five assists over his last five contests, while Tim Stapleton's five-game point streak was snapped against Manitoba. . . . Referees in the AHL do not have the benefit of video replay to determine if pucks cross the goal-line. . . . The Marlies are now 3-2-0 vs. Manitoba this season.