TORONTO - Rookie winger Michel Leveille scored twice and Kris Newbury provided the shorthanded game-winner as the Toronto Marlies beat the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs 3-2 in American Hockey League action on Saturday night.
"The score didn't reflect the game, either," said Marlies goaltender Scott Clemmensen, who faced only 16 shots. "I thought they got two lucky goals ... That was the only reason it was close. We pretty much dominated from start to finish."
The Marlies, off to their best start in franchise history, improved to 5-0-1 on the season in front of 2,479 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
"The important thing is we got the win, so I'm happy," said Leveille, who had three goals in four games.
Forwards Eric Manlow and Cory Urquhart replied for the Bulldogs. Hamilton, the AHL's defending Calder Cup champions, have lost three consecutive games and four of its last five to fall to 3-4-1.
Clemmenesen, who improved to 4-0-0, stopped 14 shots while Bulldogs goalie Jaroslav Halak made 37 saves on 40 shots.
"We played really well," Clemmensen said. "I have to tip my hat to my teammates, we only gave them two shots in the third period."
Toronto was 1-for-7 on the power play, while Hamilton went 1-for-8 with the man advantage.
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 through 40 minutes.
Leveille, a native of Levis, Que., who finished his a four-year U.S. college career at Maine last season, opened the scoring when he kept the puck on a 3-on-1 and fired a wrist shot past Halak's glove at 2:37 of the first period.
"I'm more of a passer," said Leveille, who scored twice in three AHL games for the Marlies at the end of last season. "But I looked over and the pass wasn't there, so I figured I might as well take the shot. I shot it, and it went in."
Manlow tied it for Hamilton on the power play, taking advantage of a strange bounce on a shoot-in. The puck ricocheted in front of the net, trapping Clemmensen behind the goal while Manlow deposited the puck into the empty cage at 8:39.
"Just a bad bounce," Clemmensen said, "To be a good goalie, you got to have a bad memory."
Urquhart put the Bulldogs up 2-1 at 8:54 of the second period when his slapshot from the left faceoff circle deflected off Marlies defender Jamie Sifers and past Clemmensen.
The goal came on the heels of a Marlies power play, but Toronto would respond on its next man-advantage situation when Hamilton's Ryan O'Byrne and Duncan Milroy - who received a five-minute major for high-sticking Marlies winger Alex Foster - were both sent off at 13:25. Marlies defenceman Staffon Kronwall unleashed a slapshot from the point that Leveille tipped in at 16:10.
"I've been working on tipping in practices a lot and tonight it went my way," Leveille said. "The goalies are so good at this level that you have to get some tips."
Toronto was whistled for two quick hooking penalties early in the third period, with Sifers being sent off at 1:10 and Leveille at 2:43. The Marlies turned the tables on their visitors, however, when defenceman Bryan Muir cleared the puck from Toronto's zone with a blast that sailed in on Halak. The Bulldogs goalie made the save, but the puck bounced up in the air and landed in the slot where Newbury pounced on it and slid it past Halak at 3:31.
"I thought Muir was going to dump it in," said Newbury, playing his third game with the Marlies since being demoted by the Toronto Maple Leafs. "I was behind the 'D' and I thought I might have a chance at the puck so I went down and tried to kill some more time. (Muir) ended up putting it on net and there was a rebound there ... I was the first one there and was able to chip it in. It was kind of a lucky one.
"Hopefully, that'll help with my confidence."
The Marlies host the Syracuse Crunch on Sunday, while the Bulldogs welcome the Rockford Ice Hogs to Copps Coliseum.
Notes: The game was billed as "Pink Ribbon Night" and served as a fundraiser for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. There was a silent auction and the Marlies players wore pink laces in support of the cause.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ... The game was the 25th all-time meeting between the Marlies and Bulldogs, with Toronto holding a 14-9-2 edge. ... Marlies defenceman Chris Harrington, who played 68 AHL games as a rookie pro last season, made his 2007-08 debut for Toronto.