HAMILTON - The Toronto Marlies scored three goals in the second period en route to a 4-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League on Friday.
Spencer Abbott had a goal and two assists, and Kory Nagy, T.J. Brennan and Brad Ross also scored for the Marlies (13-9-1). Drew MacIntyre made 28 saves.
Louis Leblanc had the lone goal for the Bulldogs (12-11-3), while Robert Mayer stopped 20 shots in a losing effort.
The Marlies enjoyed offensive pressure from the opening whistle Friday, but the Bulldogs were able to effectively limit their scoring chances early in the first period.
That luck ran out at 11:08 of the period, when Andrew MacWilliam's point shot bounced off the end boards and straight to Abbott to the right of Mayer's net. Abbott easily slotted the puck into the empty net with the goaltender well out of position.
Hamilton pushed back immediately, and nearly found an equalizing goal when winger Patrick Holland drove the net and one-timed a centring pass toward MacIntyre. The goaltender was up to the challenge, and dropped low to kick aside the slap shot.
The Bulldogs began the second period with pace, and saw two quality scoring chances pass them by when Holland and Nick Tarnasky were both denied by MacIntyre from close range.
After weathering the early pressure, the Marlies struck to double their lead at 7:24 of the second period.
David Broll collected the puck in the left corner, and centred for the streaking Nagy, who tipped the puck through the legs of Mayer.
The lead swelled to 3-0 with Toronto on the power play, after Hamilton's Gabriel Dumont was whistled for kneeing.
Stuart Percy shifted the puck across the blue-line to Brennan, whose low wrist shot moved through a screen and the pads of Mayer at 9:03 of the second period.
Momentum was clearly with the Marlies, who continued to threaten in the offensive end against a disheartened Bulldogs team.
That pressure paved the way for a fourth goal, as Tyler Biggs carried along the left wing unguarded, and threaded a cross-ice pass to Ross at the far post. With Mayer sprawling to his left, Ross waited and lifted a wrist shot over the goaltender's outstretched glove at 10:35 of the second period.
Friday marked the Bulldogs' annual Toy Toss game, and Louis Leblanc gave the fans in attendance reason to throw their plush toys when he scored to break Drew MacIntyre's shutout bid at 11:01 of the second period.
The puck took a radical bounce off the foot of Martin St. Pierre behind the net, and rolled to Leblanc in front, who turned and fired a low wrist shot through the legs of MacIntyre.
Leblanc had the Bulldogs' best chance for a goal in the third period, stickhandling into the high slot on the power play and snapping a heavy wrist shot that clanged off the crossbar and lay in MacIntyre's crease. But no Bulldog could poke the loose puck over the goal line.