Marlies Secure Fifth Straight Win With Victory Over Grand Rapids

Marlies keep it close as Dupuis scores in OT as Toronto rallies past Griffins

Canadian Press
April 7, 2012

RELATED: Game Sheet | Marlies Clinch Division Title | AHL Standings
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TORONTO _ The Toronto Marlies never seem to make it easy on themselves.

Philippe Dupuis' goal 45 seconds into overtime gave Toronto its' fifth win in a row, a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday in American Hockey League action.

In their last 13 games, a span where they've only lost twice, the Marlies have either won or lost games by more than two goals only once.

On their current five-game streak, two of their wins have come in overtime, one win was decided by a single goal in regulation, and two games have been two-goal victories.

``Is it a little hard on the heart some nights and get my ulcer bleeding? Absolutely,'' said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. ``But we're at a point with this group now where I'm on the bench, it's 2-1 and I just think we're going to win the game.''

The Dupuis goal came on a breakaway after Mark Fraser fed a long pass through the middle. Dupuis came in on the right side and beat Tom McCollum with a high shot. It was Dupuis' second straight game-winning-goal for the Marlies. He picked up the winning goal for Toronto, also against the Griffins, in a 4-2 win Friday.

``You need that in the playoffs some nights. Some guys are not going to score on their chances and you need someone else to come in and step up for the team so that's what it's good for,'' said Dupuis. ``On any given night, anyone can score, so that's good.''

Jerry D'Amigo gave the Marlies (43-23-4-3) a first period lead but second period goals by Doug Janik and Fabian Brunnstrom gave the Griffins (32-29-7-4) the lead after two. Marcel Mueller equalized for Toronto in the third.

The Marlies got on the board at 10:33 of the first when D'Amigo's shot from the left side got a fortunate deflection off the traffic in front of the net and past McCollum in the Griffins goal.

``I really need it myself to get the confidence back up and it helped out,'' said D'Amigo, who scored for the first time since March 16th when he scored at Grand Rapids. ``I may have been funny to go in but it went in.''

The second period belonged to the visitors as they tied the game just 28 seconds in.

The puck came back to Janik on the left point and his powerful slapshot from the left point found its way past Jussi Rynnas in the Toronto goal. Rynnas appeared to be screened on the play.

The Griffins weren't done there as they took the lead for good about five and a half minutes later. After being tied up on the left wing, Louis-Marc Aubry found Brunnstrom.

With his back to the goal, Brunnstrom took a brief look at the goal, put some space between him and a Marlies defender, and beat Rynnas with a backhand shot to the far side.

``Going into the playoffs especially, you want to win games like this where you want to come back or you want to win it in overtime,'' said Eakins. ``You want your team comfortable in these situations and our guys are getting comfortable.''

Toronto has clearly bought into that belief and didn't panic as they were getting quality chances in the third but coming up empty. At 14:56 of the final period Nicolas Deschamps led a rush into the Griffins zone but had the puck poked off his stick.

Fortunately for the Marlies, it fell kindly to Mueller and his backhand shot from the slot took a deflection and beat McCollum over his left shoulder.

Toronto has already clinched the North Division in the Western Conference but can still finish anywhere for first through third place. The Oklahoma City Barons top the Conference for now with Toronto second and the Chicago Wolves are in third.

Notes: Announced attendance was 5,868...Toronto is back in action on Easter Sunday against the Hamilton Bulldogs...Sunday's game with the Bulldogs will be the sixth meeting between the two teams. Toronto's all five of the previous games.

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