ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – If the Toronto Marlies had any jet lag after their long cross-country flight, it didn’t show.
Dale Mitchell scored the winning goal as the Marlies took an early two-goal lead and beat the Abbotsford Heat 3-1 in American Hockey League action Tuesday. Toronto went ahead 2-0 when Mitchell put the puck past Heat goaltender Leland Irving, who was taken out on the play by backchecking Abbotsford centre John Armstrong.
It was Mitchell’s firsr goal of the season.
With the win the Marlies (3-2-1) ended a two-game losing streak, while Abbotsford (3-1-3) saw its two-game home winning streak come to an end.
“We had a long trip yesterday coming across the country,” said Marlies forward Christian Hanson. “We wanted to make sure we came out and got our flight legs out of us early.”
The level of physical play was prominent throughout the night with the Marlies setting the tone early. Both teams combined for a total of 100 penalty minutes.
“They came out hard, they came out hitting and we didn’t answer them,” said Heat forward David Van Der Gulik . “We played like boys tonight and they were a team of men.”
The Marlies opened the scoring near the five-minute mark of the first period when Hanson scored his second of the season.
After Mitchell’s goal, Mikael Backlund got the Heat on the board in the second period when he put home his own rebound past Marlies goaltender Adam Munro.
Toronto scored an insurance goal midway through the second when Jiri Tlusty beat Irving for his fourth goal of the season.
Munro made 36 saves for the win while Irving stopped 20 shots in his second loss of the season.
Munro was especially good later in the game as the Heat out-shot the Marlies 33-11 in the final 40 minutes.
“They played really well in the final two (periods),” Hanson said. “(Munro) hung on strong in net and made the saves he needed to make for us to get the win.”
The two teams meet again Wednesday night in Abbotsford.