TORONTO – Even Max Pacioretty’s natural hat trick and shootout goal couldn’t spoil the Toronto Marlies’ homecoming.
Despite giving up three straight goals to Pacioretty in the second and third periods – and another in the shootout – the Marlies defeated the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs 4-3 when Jerry D’Amigo won it in the seventh round of the shootout in American Hockey League action on Saturday.
“It’s definitely great to get the win,” said D’Amigo. “I was lucky to get the call, it’s my first time in the shootout.
“I just said to myself, ‘I’ve got to score.’ I love those situations. I knew I had to score and I did.”
Greg Scott, Jay Rosehill and Josh Engel – who tied the game with 64 seconds remaining – scored in regulation time for the Marlies in front of 4,457 fans. Scott picked up two assists for a three-point game, while Joey Crabb also scored in the shootout as the Marlies improved to 9-7-3 on the season.
David Desharnais collected two assists for Hamilton as the Bulldogs fell to 11-3-3 on the season.
With the annual Royal Agricultural Fair taking over Ricoh Coliseum for the first half of November, Toronto was forced to hit the road for 10 straight games. Despite embarking on the trek with a league-worst 2-6-0 record, the Marlies went 6-1-3 on the road to return to relevance in the standings.
“When we went on the road, we didn’t to be the same (losing) team,” D’Amigo said. “We changed our mindset to believing we could go out and win every game.”
Marlies netminder Ben Scrivens, making his AHL debut, made 32 saves for the victory. Scrivens, in his first pro season after four years at Cornell University, was called up from the Reading Royals in the ECHL to replace James Reimer, who was recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs after starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere went down with a groin injury on Tuesday.
“We got the win and that’s important,” Scrivens said. “I didn’t want to come in and hurt the team after being called up.
“Engel bailed me out with that late goal and we were able to win it in the shootout.”
Scrivens was especially sharp early, standing tall during a first-period goalmouth flurry and denying Hamilton’s Ben Maxwell on a redirection in front in the opening moments of the second period.
“You always want to make a big save early,” Scrivens said. “It’s a huge confidence boost.”
Goaltender Robert Mayer was solid in net for Hamilton, blocking 31 of 34 shots in a losing effort.
The Marlies led 1-0 after the first period and it was tied 2-2 through 40 minutes.
Scott opened the scoring late in the first period when he stole the puck at the blue-line and raced in alone on Mayer. The right winger zipped a wrist shot over the Hamilton goalie’s glove at 18:59 to make it 1-0 for the Marlies.
Rosehill made it 2-0 for Toronto when he completed a three-way passing play at 3:48 of the second period. Scott and Darryl Boyce drew assists as Rosehill fired a low wrist shot past Mayer.
Pacioretty broke the ice for Hamilton when he took a between-the-legs pass from Ben Maxwell and one-timed a low shot from the slot past Scrivens’ glove hand at 8:53 of the second. He scored again late in the frame when Marlies defenseman Danny Richmond coughed up the puck in the slot to Bulldogs centre David Desharnais. Instead of shooting, Desharnais delayed and passed of to Pacioretty at the side of the net, who easily roofed a one-timer at 17:48.
Pacioretty made it three in a row when he deposited a wraparound goal past Scrivens at 13:53 of the third period.
Toronto pulled Scrivens with more than two minutes remaining in a bid to tie the game, and were rewarded when Engel’s blast from the right point found its way through traffic and beat a screened Mayer.
That set the stage for a scoreless overtime followed by the shootout.
Hamilton went 1-for-5 on the power play while Toronto was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Marlies and Bulldogs complete the two-game weekend series with another contest in Toronto on Sunday afternoon. The game will be shown nationally on CBC.