TORONTO – If his coach is correct, Tim Brent contributing to wins by the Toronto Marlies will quickly become a familiar storyline.
Brent had a goal and an assist as the Marlies dropped the Lake Erie Monsters 4-2 in front of 3,920 fans at the Ricoh Coliseum in American Hockey League action on Sunday afternoon.
After missing most of the year with a shoulder injury, Brent now has eight points in seven games since entering the Marlies lineup, drawing high praise from bench boss Dallas Eakins.
“Timmy Brent just oozes leadership,” said Eakins of the 25-year-old, who wears an ‘A’ with the Marlies. “Not only that, he is an extremely smart player. Not having him for the whole season, you really don’t even know what you’re missing and now I really know what we were missing for the first half of the season.
“He’s been a great addition and he’s just getting up to game speed now. I don’t even think we’ve seen nearly his best, which is really encouraging.”
One of the beneficiaries of Brent’s strong play is Greg Scott, who flanks the centre along with Viktor Stalberg.
“Both my linemates, Tim and Vik, are outstanding players and I think anyone who gets put with them is going to put up points,” said Scott, who contributed a goal to the win to give him four goals and four assists over his past nine contests.
“I like to think I bring it every night and work as hard as I can. It’s pretty easy playing with two guys who have the scoring touch they do.”
Andre Deveaux and Christian Hanson rounded out the Marlies scoring as the team snapped a four-game losing streak that included a 6-3 setback versus Lake Erie in Cleveland on Friday.
Matthew Ford and Brian Willsie were the only Monsters to beat Joey MacDonald, who made 21 saves to pick up the win after getting yanked in Friday’s loss.
“We played hard and we played smart hockey,” Scott said. “I think that’s going to help us win down the road here.”
Hanson got the game’s first goal 5:14 into the first period with the Marlies short-handed. Ben Simon did most of the legwork on the play, driving wide around the Monsters’ defence, then sending a crisp pass to the lip of the crease Hanson redirected home.
After Ford converted a two-on-one to even things up for Lake Erie, Toronto struck back just over one minute later, seizing the lead for good when Deveaux tracked a loose puck in the low slot and swatted it behind Monsters goalie Billy Sauer.
Brent set up the Marlies’ third goal in the second period before scoring to make it a three-goal game.
First, Brent found Scott on the edge of the crease with a nice pass the latter tipped home. Then, with a delayed penalty coming to Lake Erie, he swooped in on a loose puck in the slot and wired it to the back of the net.
Lake Erie got one back late in the second period when Willsie’s seemingly harmless shot from the corner glanced off Kyle Rogers’ stick and over MacDonald’s shoulder, but failed to muster any more offence over the final 20 minutes.
On a day when the Toronto Maple Leafs organization made sweeping changes at the NHL level, Scott conceded the young guys were invigorated by the notion there could be some spots opening up with the big club.
“We’re just going to go out and work hard every night, but definitely with the moves, there’s going to be call-ups, so the guys are aiming for that because that’s their goal,” the 21-year-old said.
NOTES: With the win, Toronto climbed out of the North Division basement, two points ahead of the Grand Rapids Griffins and three points behind fifth-place Lake Erie. . . The Marlies are now 5-3 on the season versus Lake Erie, having snapped a three-game losing streak against their division rival.