TORONTO - Joel Perrault's overtime goal blew up the Toronto Marlies' last-minute heroics.
Perrault's second goal of the game at 1:18 of overtime lifted the visiting San Antonio Rampage to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto in American Hockey League action on Sunday night.
Perrault, who also collected an assist for a three-point night, banged in a rebound to secure the win for San Antonio after Toronto had tied the game with less than a minute to play in the third period.
Brett MacLean also scored for the Rampage in a hard-fought game that featured more bodychecks than scoring chances.
"We created some opportunities," said Marlies coach Greg Gilbert. "We just couldn't finish them."
Tim Stapleton and Jaime Sifers provided the offence for the Marlies in front of 4,437 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
"Anyone in any division can beat anyone else on any given night," Sifers said.
The win was San Antonio's second in a row as the Rampage (28-36-6) kicked off a five-game road trip. Despite the victory, San Antonio sits 27th overall in the 29-team AHL a playoff berth remains mathematically possible, but is very remote.
Meanwhile, for a tired Toronto team who were outshot 10-3, it was the third loss in three days as the Marlies dropped to 35-28-8 on the season. Toronto lost a pair of road games in Grand Rapids on Friday (2-1 in a shootout) and Saturday (3-2).
"The last two games against Grand Rapids were playoff games and so was this one," Gilbert said. "They're all big games from here on in. Every two points is vital for us right now."
The Rampage led 2-0 after the first period, and were up 2-1 through 40 minutes.
Marlies goalie Justin Pogge stopped 18 of 21 shots, while the Rampage's Al Montoya made 24 saves.
MacLean opened the scoring barely a minute into the contest on the power play when he picked up a loose puck at the blue-line and snapped a low wrist shot past Pogge's stick side at 1:35.
MacLean was at it again late in the frame when he won a battle along the boards and sent the puck behind the net to Rampage winger David Spina, who centred to Perrault in front for a one-timer at 17:34.
There was scary moment late in the first period when Rampage captain Steve Goertzen was hit near the eyes by the stick of Marlies winger Ryan Hamilton. Both players were battling for the puck in the neutral zone when Goertzen fell to the ice. Hamilton turned around and the blade of his stick came into contact with Goertzen's face.
The Rampage player remained on the ice for a few minutes and was helped off the ice. He did not return to the game.
"I don't know (Goertzen's condition)," said Rampage coach Greg Ireland after the game. "He's waiting to see our doctor to find out."
San Antonio survived most of the second period with a two-goal lead until Stapleton's harmless-looking shot from the top of the left faceoff circle deflected in off of the Ramlage netminder at 15:57. It was Stapleton's 22nd goal of the season and 16th in his past 20 games.
It appeared that Stapleton's goal would be all the offence Toronto could muster, but Sifers tied it with a deflection past Montoya at 19:18 of the third period.
"I've learned, especially with all the penalties in today's game, that it's never quite sewn up until the final buzzer sounds," Ireland said. "We had the momentum in the game, but we allowed it to flow back to them in the third."
Toronto was 0-for-5 on the power play, while San Antonio went 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
The Marlies are on the road for three games this week at Hershey on Wednesday, Philadelphia on Friday and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Saturday before returning to Ricoh Coliseum for another tilt with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton next Sunday.