TORONTO (CP) - Defenceman Marc Moro figures the Toronto Marlies gave one away Thursday night.
Joel Perrault scored twice to lead the San Antonio Rampage to a 4-2 win over the Marlies in AHL action. "That was a game we needed to win, and we should've had," said Moro. "Quite frankly, I'm a little disappointed in the way we came out. "There were times we played like a good team should, but overall, we've got to be disappointed with that effort."
The Marlies (18-24-2-3) remain five points behind Grand Rapids for the fourth and final spot in the North Division. However, Toronto fell behind 2-0 in the first period to the Rampage (18-24-1-2) and wasted a golden opportunity to gain ground in the standings.
"We didn't show much character in the first period, that's for sure," said Marlies centre Kris Newbury. "We have to find a way to win hockey games (at home), and it all starts with work ethic."
Chris Ferraro and Donald MacLean also scored for San Antonio, which snapped a two-game losing skid.
Colin Murphy and Erik Westrum replied for the Marlies, who've dropped two of their last three games and are a dismal 4-14-2-1 at home this season.
Toronto coach Greg Gilbert was at a loss to explain his team's problems at home.
"It's funny, you come back off a road trip, and the first game at home is lackadaisical, sloppy, and the emotion isn't there," Gilbert said. "But it's not an excuse.
"We have to win home games as well as road games from here on in. We're getting in dire straits here."
The Rampage opened the scoring before 4,875 spectators at Air Canada Centre on Ferraro's power-play goal at 6:13 of the first period. MacLean then fired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Marlies goalie Justin Pogge at 18:23 to make it 2-0.
Toronto made it 2-1 at 5:10 of the second when Murphy deflected Domenic D'Amour's shot from the point for a power-play goal. But the Rampage countered with Perrault's fifth goal of the year, also on the power play, at 12:43.
Perrault scored his second of the game at 4:46 of the third, before Westrum rounded out the scoring with a penalty-shot goal at 10:07.
The Rampage finished 2-for-5 with the man advantage while the Marlies were 1-for-7.
Rampage goalie David LeNeveu (6-11-1) made 29 saves for the win while Pogge (7-14-0) stopped 26 shots.
Special teams, Gilbert said, determined the game.
"Ultimately (San Antonio's two power-play goals) were the difference in the game," he said. "That (power play) is something we'll have to get fixed quickly, especially if we're going to give up one (power-play goal) or two. We've got to equal it out."