News

Marlies snap home winless drought with 3-1 win over Springfield Falcons

Forwards Colin Murphy, John Mitchell and Brad Leeb scored for the Marlies in front of 5,549 fans at Ricoh Coliseum. Centre Erik Westrum collected two assists, while Murphy added a helper for a two-point night.

The victory was Toronto’s first win at home in more than two months, since beating the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2 back on Nov. 29. The Marlies had gone 0-8-1 on home ice in that stretch.

Left winger Eric Healey provided the scoring for the Falcons.

Marlies netminder Jean-Francois Racine blocked 22 of 23 shots for the victory. At the other end, Falcons stopper Jonathan Boutin made 24 saves on 27 shots.

Toronto was 1-for-8 on the power play, while Springfield went 1-for-10 with the man advantage.

The game was a matchup between two teams heading in the wrong direction in recent weeks. The Falcons, losers of six games in a row and 11 of their past 13 to fall to 22-27-1 overall, sit in last place in the Atlantic Division.

Meanwhile, Toronto, 19-26-5 on the season, is second-last in the North Division and 11th in the Western Conference. The Marlies entered the game on a three-game losing skid and had dropped eight of their previous 11 games.

Toronto led 2-0 after the first period and 2-1 through 40 minutes.

READ ALSO:  New York Islanders claim centre Nate Thompson off waivers

The Marlies took a while to locate the net in the first period, but then scored on two of their first three shots. Boutin made a nice save on a deflection by Marlies winger Ben Ondrus about six minutes into the game, but Murphy and Mitchell soon got the better of the Falcons goalie.

After taking a centring pass from Erik Westrum, Murphy slid the puck between Boutin’s legs at 9:45 of the first to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later at 12:45, Mitchell gathered the rebound on Andy Wozniewski’s point shot and fired the puck into a gaping net.

The game marked Wozniewski’s AHL debut this season. The big defenceman made the Toronto Maple Leafs in training camp, but hurt his shoulder in mid-October and had been sidelined ever since.

Healey pulled the falcons within 2-1 6:46 of the second period, but Springfield couldn’t get one past Racine after that. Leeb sealed the game for Toronto when he knocked in his own rebound at 14:11 of the final frame.

The Marlies try for their second consecutive win on home ice when the West Division-leading Chicago Wolves visit on Monday.