Marlies Fall Short in Shootout

Lucky bounces take Lake Erie Monsters over Toronto Marlies in 3-2 shootout win

Canadian Press
March 26, 2011

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TORONTO - It's the time of year when a single point can make a big difference, and the Toronto Marlies felt they let one get away on Saturday afternoon, falling 3-2 to the Lake Erie Monsters in shootout.

Luke Walker's winner in the shootout led the Monsters to a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Marlies in American Hockey League action Saturday.

``I'm really pleased the way our guys responded and played,'' said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. ``We know this is going to go down to the last week. Would we have liked both those points, absolutely. But we got one and we'll see where we sit on Wednesday.''

Joel Chouinard and Greg Mauldin scored for Lake Erie (40-25-8) in regulation. The win was the eighth in a row for the North Division-leading Monsters.

Ryan Hamilton
scored twice to reply for the hometown Marlies (35-29-10) in front of 4,506 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

Hamilton led off the shootout but was stopped by Monsters' goaltender John Grahame, as was Greg Scott.

Mauldin beat Marlies goalie Ben Scrivens through the five-hole before Joe Colborne responded with a marker of his own to even the shootout at 1-1.

Fabian Brunnstrom
and Matt Carauna both missed their attempts for Toronto before Walker ended it on a goal that originally looked like it had been saved, but dribbled over the line.

In the end the Marlies came away with a disappointing, but much-needed point, keeping their drive for the playoffs alive. Their next action is Wednesday at home to the Syracuse Crunch.

``We played a great game, put a lot of pucks to the net. Their goalie played well but we didn't capitalize on a lot of our chances, especially myself,'' said a humble Hamilton.

Lake Erie's Grahame was spectacular at times, stopping 37 of 39 shots for the victory. At the other end, Scrivens made 16 saves, allowing two hard-luck goals in regulation.

Both Lake Erie markers were deflections off Toronto defender Korbinian Holzer.

``It's games like this where the game's not fair,'' said Eakins.

Toronto out-shot the Monsters 12-5 in the opening period en route to taking it to the opposition the entire game, but the game was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes when a Chouinard shot hit Holzer in the arm and found its way to the back of the net just after Toronto's Juraj Mikus stepped out of the penalty box.

The pace picked up noticeably in the second and a physical edge appeared, but the teams played a scoreless frame.

The deadlock was broken by Lake Erie's Mauldin, at 6:57 of the third period when the Monsters' second lucky goal of the game went in. Mauldin took a drop pass from centre Ben Walter and let a weak wrist shot go from a bad angle. The shot hit Holzer's stick and deflected past Scrivens.

``That hockey,'' Hamilton said. ``They come down the other way and get a good bounce and it goes in. There's nothing you can do it about it.''

Hamilton's second of the game came just over three minutes later when a scramble in the Lake Erie crease ended with the puck on his stick. He shovelled it pass Grahame for his second of the day, the goal snapped a 0-for-23 streak on the power play for the Marlies.

Toronto finished 1-for-4 with the man advantage, Lake Erie was 0-for-4 on the power play.

With the score tied 2-2 the Marlies pushed hard, finishing regulation with a 38-18 advantage in shots, but to no avail. Overtime was feisty, but tight-checking, both teams managed a lone shot and it was off to the shootout.

``We firmly outplayed the other team, we limited them to barely any scoring chances 5-on-5, a bad bounce ends up in our net and it goes to a shootout,'' Eakins said. ``Listen, you can toss coins on those things.''

Notes: Will Acton, son of Maple Leafs assistant coach Keith, made his AHL debut with the Marlies...Toronto's penalty kill ranked first in the AHL entering play Saturday.

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