TORONTO - The Toronto Marlies weren't spooked by a frustrating first period and went on to manhandle the Cleveland-based Lake Erie Monsters, the AHL's newest franchise, for the first time ever, skating away with a 6-2 victory Friday night.
Newcomer Tony Salmelainen scored two goals and another fresh face, blueliner Derrick Walser, had four points to lead the Toronto charge, which didn't start bearing fruit until the middle period.
After Monsters goalie Mike Wall turned aside 15 shots in the first stanza, the Marlies (2-0-0) came at the Lake Erie stopper in waves in the second, exploding for five goals.
Walser scored his second goal in as many games to get Toronto on the board just 1:52 into the frame. His point shot on a power play deflected off a Lake Erie defender and over the glove of a helpless Wall (0-1-0). Walser, who played nine NHL games with Columbus last year before joining the Marlies this season, also had three helpers against Lake Erie (0-2-0).
"Their goalie was definitely on his game," said Walser of the first frame. "Our motto was keep shooting the puckaguys started taking the puck to the net and when you do that good things happen."
Marlies coach Greg Gilbert made sure his charges stayed focused after the opening period.
"I was just trying to explain to the guys after the first period that frustration is a waste of emotion, it zaps your energy and gets you focused on other things you don't need to be focused on," Gilbert said. "We started moving the puck quicker up ice in our transition. Things started to happen for us and we stuck with it."
Two rookies teamed up to give Toronto a 2-0 lead when Brent Aubin (1st of the year) banged home a rebound from fellow freshman Jiri Tlusty. The play was created after Tlusty did some solid work along the boards, eventually emerging with the puck and firing it on goal.
Robbie Earl picked up his first of the year when he took the puck to the crease from behind the net and jammed it past Wall.
Salmelainen kept the Marlies party going with his first of the year and John Mitchell followed up with his initial tally of the campaign after he and Colin Murphy combined on a beautiful give-and-go play during a Toronto power play.
Lake Erie got on the board late in the period when Matt Hussey (2nd) tapped a perfect pass from Matt DaSilva past Scott Clemmensen (2-0-0), ruining the Toronto goalie's shutout bid.
Clemmensen wasn't tested often, but made the tough saves when he had to in his second consecutive start.
"Clemmensen played real well in the back end for us," Gilbert said.
The North Division rivals traded goals in the third, as Cody McLeod scored his first of the year for Lake Erie, while Salmelainen answered back with his second of the night.
Notes: The Marlies outshot Lake Erie 45-19aThe Monsters were 0-for-6 on the power play, while the Marlies went 1-for-5aBen Ondrus fought twice for the MarliesaToronto and Lake Erie will meet again Sunday afternoon at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena.