TORONTO - Adam Munro stopped 28 shots and Tim Stapleton scored with 48 seconds remaining in overtime to lead the Toronto Marlies past the visiting Lake Erie Monsters 2-1 in American Hockey League action on Saturday.
Stapleton stole the puck in the defensive zone, raced up the ice and fired a wrist shot that beat Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman on the stick side at 4:12 of overtime.
Ashton Rome, with his first goal as a Marlie, also scored as Toronto won its second consecutive game to improve to 34-26-7 in front of 3,507 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Randy Rowe replied for the Monsters, who dropped their second straight contest to fall to 30-32-6. Previously, Lake Erie had won eight of nine games to climb back into playoff contention.
The tight-checking affair featured few scoring chances and was the eighth and final regular season meeting between the North Division rivals; Lake Erie captured the season series with a 5-1-2 record. Both teams are among nine clubs separated by just a handful of points vying for the final four playoff spots in the West.
Munro was especially sharp in the third period and overtime, while Weiman made 19 saves.
Lake Erie led 1-0 after the period and the game was tied 1-1 through 40 minutes.
The Monsters opened the scoring on the power play when Philippe Dupuis centred the puck to Rowe in the slot at 14:40 of the first period. The left winger from Burford, Ont., had a wide-open net for his sixth goal of the season as Munro was trapped on the other side of the goal.
Toronto responded when Rome scored his first as a Marlie just 43 seconds into the middle frame. The 23-year-old native of Nesbitt, Man., who was playing his second game for Toronto after being reassigned by the San Jose Sharks on March 10, was in the right place at the right time. Jeremy Williams fired a heavy wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that was stopped by Weiman, but the rebound hit Rome as he cruised through the slot and the puck bounced into the net.
Toronto was 1-for-5 on the power play, while Lake Erie went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
The Marlies host the Manitoba Moose on Sunday, while the Monsters are off until Wednesday when they host the Milwaukee Admirals.