TORONTO – Adam Munro stopped 28 shots and Tim Stapleton scored with 48 seconds remaining in overtime to lead the Toronto Marlies past the visiting Lake Erie Monsters 2-1 in American Hockey League action on Saturday night.
“We got a lot of help from Adam Munro tonight,” said Marlies coach Greg Gilbert, who watched his team win for the first time all season when scoring fewer than three goals. “We owe the two points (for the win) to Munro. He earned them, especially in the third period and overtime.”
Stapleton stole the puck in the defensive zone, raced up the ice and fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Monsters goalie Tyler Weiman on the stick side at 4:12 of overtime.
“It was kind of a broken play … it all started, of course, with a game-saving save by Munro,” Stapleton said. “I thought I had the defenceman beat (for a breakaway), but I figured the goalie wasn’t expecting me to shoot.”
Jeremy Williams also scored as Toronto won its second consecutive game to improve to 34-26-7 in front of 3,507 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Randy Rowe replied for the Monsters, who dropped their second straight contest to fall to 30-32-6. Previously, Lake Erie had won eight of nine games to climb back into playoff contention.
The tight-checking affair featured few scoring chances until the latter stages and was the eighth and final regular season meeting between the North Division rivals; Lake Erie captured the season series with a 5-1-2 record. Both teams are among nine clubs – separated by just a handful of points – vying for the final four playoff spots in the West.
Munro was especially sharp in the third period and overtime, while Weiman made 19 saves.
“There wasn’t a lot of rebounds,” Munro said. “The defence cleared them out, they did a good job, and the forwards came back to help out.”
Gilbert, meanwhile, credited his goalie first and team second.
“He stood on his head tonight and got the win for us,” Gilbert said. “We did some things well, but we did some things that will cost us down the road if we continue to do them.”
Lake Erie led 1-0 after the period and the game was tied 1-1 through 40 minutes.
The Monsters opened the scoring on the power play when Philippe Dupuis centred the puck to Rowe in the slot at 14:40 of the first period. The left winger from Burford, Ont., had a wide-open net for his sixth goal of the season as Munro was trapped on the other side of the goal.
Toronto responded when Williams fired a heavy wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that was stopped by Weiman, but the rebound hit a Monsters defenceman in front and the puck bounced into the net.
Toronto was 1-for-5 on the power play, while Lake Erie went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
The Marlies host the Manitoba Moose on Sunday, while the Monsters are off until Wednesday when they host the Milwaukee Admirals.