TORONTO - Tim Stapleton scored three goals in the first period as the Toronto Marlies drilled the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins 10-5 in American Hockey League play Sunday.
The Marlies set a franchise high for goals in a game in front of 3,825 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Stapleton's hat trick keyed a first-period outburst in which the Marlies, after spotting the Griffins the early lead, scored five times in just over six minutes.
Stapleton, last week's AHL player of the week, upped his goal total to 13 on the season. But he was just one of several offensive stars for the Marlies (24-19-2-5). Andre Deveaux also had a hat trick, while Alex Foster scored twice and Jiri Tlusty added four assists.
Even goaltender Justin Pogge registered an assist in the rout.
Goaltenders Daniel Larsson and Jimmy Howard took turns in goal for Grand Rapids (31-11-6-4), but neither was able to hold off the onslaught. Larsson was pulled at the 8:41 mark of the first period after allowing three goals on five shots.
Larsson returned in the second period but was replaced again by Howard after two more pucks found the net behind him. Howard fared no better, allowing five goals on 27 shots.
The game began on a positive note for the Griffins, who took a 1-0 lead just over five minutes into the first period on a goal by Francis Lemieux. After stepping out from the corner to Pogge's left, Lemieux swept across the crease and beat the fallen Toronto goaltender on the forehand.
But the goal only served to ignite the Marlies' offence. Deveaux answered 38 seconds after the Lemieux goal, ripping a high shot past Larsson.
Stapleton and Foster followed shortly afterward with their first goals of the game as the Marlies took advantage of the open ice the Griffins conceded in the defensive zone.
The goaltending switch didn't matter. Less than three minutes after Howard took over, Stapleton redirected a high shot through the netminder's legs to open up a three-goal bulge for the home side.
Stapleton then completed his hat trick, driving home a one-timer from the top of the faceoff circle with the Marlies on a power play.
Lemieux notched his second goal of the game before the first intermission, but any thought of a Grand Rapids comeback was quickly dashed in the second period. Anton Stralman's power-play goal was sandwiched between markers by Foster and Deveaux within a two-minute span to put the game away.
Justin Abdelkader, Evan McGrath and Darren Haydar scored the other goals for Grand Rapids.
Notes: Tlusty's four assists is the most registered by any Toronto player in a game this season. . . . The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Marlies.