TORONTO - Joe Colborne scored the winner in the third period Wednesday to lift the Toronto Marlies to a 2-1 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters in the American Hockey League.
Colborne one-timed a shot from the slot past Monsters goalie Calvin Pickard at 7:54 of the final frame, just 33 seconds after Lake Erie had tied the game.
Mike Zigomanis also scored for Toronto, and set up Colborne's game-winner with a nice pass from behind the Monsters' net, in front of 7,144 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
It was the second win a row for the Marlies, who improved to 32-20-6 and maintained their hold on first place in the North Division.
Toronto goalie Drew MacIntyre made 23 saves for the win. His best stop came late in the second period when he robbed Lake Erie centre Mike Sgarbossa, who had just stepped out of the penalty box, with a sparkling glove save. The 29-year-old netminder, who signed an AHL contract with the Marlies two weeks ago, has won four of his past five starts and is 5-2-1 overall.
Geoff Walker replied for the Monsters (27-26-9), who have lost three straight games ? and seven of their past nine ? to drop out of a playoff position in the West. Pickard blocked 28-of-30 shots in a losing effort.
The game was tied 0-0 after the first period and the Marlies led 1-0 through 40 minutes. It was a fast and gritty affair, with Toronto's Tim Connolly dropping the gloves and fighting Lake Erie's Andrew Agozzinoin the first period.
Zigomanis opened the scoring when he curled out from behind the Monsters net and whipped a backhander past a surprised Pickard at 9:23 of the second period. Marlies defenceman Ryan Grimshaw had an assist on the play for his first career AHL point.
Walker tied it for Lake Erie when he whacked the puck past MacIntyre during a goalmouth scramble at 7:21, but Colborne restored the lead for Toronto just 33 seconds later.
Toronto was 0-for-6 on the power play, while Lake Erie went 0-for-3.
The Marlies host the Rochester Americans on Saturday and then travel to Lake Erie for back-to-back games on Sunday and Tuesday.