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Mark Owuya earns shutout as Toronto Marlies beat Houston Aeros 4-0

NHL.com @NHL

TORONTO - Add another name to Toronto's growing list of goaltending prospects.

Mark Owuya made 20 saves for the shutout and Greg Scott had a four-point game to lead the Toronto Marlies to a 4-0 victory over the Houston Aeros in American Hockey League action Saturday.

Scott had two goals and two assists, while Will Acton and Marcel Mueller scored the other goals for Toronto (13-6-4).

Darcy Kuemper made just his second appearance this season for Houston (13-4-6), stopping 33 shots.

Owuya's record is 5-2-1 after being called up from the ECHL's Reading Royals and earning his first shutout for the Marlies.

"The guys played a really good game," Owuya said. "This is probably our best defensive game so far, at least since I've been up here. It's easy for me when the team plays like that in front.

"We've been playing well. But every guy in here wants even more. We want to be No. 1 in the division, No. 1 in the conference and No. 1 in the league overall."

Owuya is the latest in a long line of goaltending prospects in the Toronto Maple Leafs' organization with James Reimer, Jonas Gustavsson, Ben Scrivens and Jussi Rynnas. In fact, Toronto's depth in net played into Owuya signing as free agent in April after playing with Djurgarden of the Swedish Elite League in 2010-11.

"That's why I signed here," Owuya said. "I saw so many good goalies here. I could've signed with teams that had less goalie depth, but I felt that (goaltending coach) Francois Allaire was the guy to help me reach a higher level."

Owuya, whose mother is Russian and father is Ghanaian, grew up in Sweden. In 32 games with Djurgarden last season he posted a 2.18 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He signed with Toronto in the off-season with one clear objective.

"I'm going to play in the NHL," he said. "That's the only place for me, otherwise I would have stayed home in Sweden.

"There's no point in getting over here if I'm not going to play in the NHL. That's what it's all about."

Owuya came into Saturday's game with a 1.84 GAA and a .934 save percentage, good for second and fourth in the AHL. But despite his stellar stats, he still feels his game isn't quite where it needs to be.

"I've been playing all right, but I feel like there are a lot more levels to my game," he said. "I've been playing OK, but I still feel like I can get a few more saves and a few more wins every day. That's the only way I'm going to improve and keep the numbers down."

Toronto dominated the first period, outshooting Houston 14-4 and taking a 2-0 lead into the intermission on goals by Acton and Scott.

Kadri assists on Scott's goal, moving him into a tie with Mike Zigomanis for the Marlies scoring lead with 20 points. Kadri is continuing his hot streak from November when he was named the AHL's Player of the Month after recording 17 points in 12 games.

"I'm going to keep playing to my potential and to what's going to get me into the NHL," he said. "I'll keep playing my game and with the encouragement of everyone else, it makes it that much easier.

"Without a doubt, I know I can play in the NHL. I'm fully confident that when I get the call I'll be able to step in and be the impact player they want me to be."

It was more of the same in the second period with Toronto scoring another pair of goals.

Mueller made it 3-0 less than four minutes into the second period, and Scott got his second of the game when he deflected Korbinian Holzer's point shot past Kuemper.

There was no scoring in the third period.

Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins has been impressed with Owuya's play, but with Scrivens being sent back down to the Marlies it was unclear whether Owuya would stick with the club or be sent back down to Reading.

"He's got lots of wins and great numbers," Eakins said. "He's developing nicely. We've got a nice problem on our hands.

"Ben is starting (Sunday), but I haven't decided who's backing him up."

The Marlies continued their strong play at Ricoh Coliseum with the victory and have now earned at least a point in every home game this season with a 7-0-2 record.

Notes: Zigomanis missed his third straight game due to injury. . .Toronto is once again tops in the AHL on the penalty kill (87.9 per cent) after leading the league last season. . . Toronto hosts the St. John's IceCaps on Sunday. . . Announced attendance was 3,798.

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