ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - The Toronto Marlies took care of the little things, and it added up to a big road win.
The Marlies scored three goals in the first period and cruise by the St. John's IceCaps 4-2 in American Hockey League play Tuesday.
Mike Zigomanis, Marcel Mueller and Joe Colborne gave Toronto (20-13-5) a 3-0 lead while captain Ryan Hamilton added a single in the second period.
The Marlies played a road game that any coach would appreciate, focusing on the minute details of the game.
"As you get to the next level, the little things are the most important," Zigomanis said. "You see guys in the NHL, they do those little things that you don't really see: chipping-in, chipping-out, making a good play without a stick, covering a guy in the slot who isn't your man. Those little things add up throughout the night."
Marlies goaltender Jussi Rynnas allowed one goal on 21 shots. Mark Owuya closed out the game with eight stops on nine shots after Rynnas took a slapshot to the mask in the third period.
Eric O'Dell and Jason King scored for the IceCaps (21-9-5), while starter David Aebischer was pulled after allowing three goals on 13 shots. He was replaced by Peter Mannino, who made 16 saves.
Zigomanis opened the scoring on a one-timer just 17 seconds into the game, with Mueller converting on an identical play less than two minutes later to make it 2-0. Both plays started with Toronto being dogged on the puck and forcing turnovers from the Atlantic Division leading IceCaps.
"They put a lot of pressure on our defencemen," said St. John's head coach Keith McCambridge. "But I thought our reads on where to release that pressure in the defensive zone weren't there. Our awareness away from the puck in our own zone wasn't where it's been all season long."
Colborne increased the lead after his shot from the top of the slot bounced off a defender and into the air before dropping behind Aebischer.
"None of those goals were Aebischer's fault," said McCambridge. "I was looking for some energy, some sort of spark, that was the reason David Aebischer was pulled. It wasn't for his performance."
Mannino started the second in goal and was beaten by Hamilton on a breakaway.
O'Dell put the IceCaps on the board at 16:27 in the second with a snapshot though Rynnas's pads.
King cut the lead to two after he tipped in a shot from Jason DeSantis on the power play at 6:23 in the third.
Toronto lost Colton Orr and Jerry D'Amigo to injuries. Orr hobbled off the ice and didn't return after getting tangled-up with a defender, and IceCaps defenceman Arturs Kulda crushed D'Amigo in the corner late in the game, drawing a boarding minor. D'Amigo skated to the bench but went straight to the dressing room.
There is no word if they will return for Wednesday's rematch.