TORONTO – Brendan Mikkelson came through with just two seconds to spare.
Mikkelson lifted the Toronto Marlies to a thrilling overtime win, scoring with just two ticks left on the clock in the extra frame to down the Hartford Wolf Pack 3-2 in American Hockey League action Sunday afternoon.
The Marlies, who coughed up a two-goal lead in the contest, pulled it out after Ryan Hamilton made a nice play to keep the puck inside the Wolf Pack zone, then zipped a pass over to the streaking Mikkelson at the other side of the ice.
The defenceman wired a high shot past Chad Johnson to snatch the dramatic win.
Both Mikkelson and Hamilton had a goal and an assist for Toronto, while Justin Hodgman also scored for a Marlies team that had been shut out in its previous two outings and had lost three straight.
Kris Newbury, who spent five seasons in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, scored for the Wolf Pack, as did longtime NHL tough guy Donald Brashear, his first goal in 11 AHL games this year.
Hartford has now dropped six consecutive contents, four of which have been decided in either overtime or the shootout.
A combination of injuries and call-ups left the Marlies with just 10 forwards and five defencemen for the tilt, as opposed to the usual lineup of 12 forwards and six blue-liners.
Hamilton’s goal with 44 seconds left in the first period ended an extended dry spell that had seen the Marlies (25-30-10) go 184 minutes 33 seconds without finding the net.
The Toronto left-winger parked himself in front of Wolf Pack goalie Johnson and managed to get his stick on a wrist shot from Mikkelson, tipping it to the back of the net.
The Marlies didn’t take nearly as much time to get their next goal, which came from Hodgman 4:39 into the middle frame with his team on the man advantage. When Kyle Calder’s original shot failed to make it through a maze of bodies in front, Hodgman swooped in, grabbed the loose puck and roofed a backhand over Johnson.
Newbury got Hartford (26-27-11) on the board late in the second period at the tail end of a two-man advantage, tipping home a hard pass from the side of the crease.
The Wolf Pack pulled even when Brashear beat Marlies goalie James Reimer with a bad-angle slapper 7:38 into the third, but Mikkelson made sure the day ended on a high note for the home side.
Notes: Toronto recalled forwards Greg Scott, Alex Berry and Joey Ryan from the ECHL’s Reading Royals prior to the game after forwards Tim Brent and Jay Rosehill were called up to the Maple Leafs. . . Newbury is the Marlies’ all-time points (168), assists (106) and penalty minutes leader (471). . . Announced attendance was 3,730.