TORONTO – Philippe Paradis scored the only shootout goal to lead the Toronto Marlies to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs in the American Hockey League on Saturday afternoon.
Richard Greenop and Alex Foster scored in regulation for Toronto, which raised its record to 33-34-6 on the season in front of 5,782 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.
Hunter Bishop and Chad Anderson both had a goal and an assist for the Western Conference-champion Bulldogs (52-17-11), while Robert Mayer made 27 saves in his AHL debut.
Marlies netminder James Reimer made 16 saves in regulation and overtime, and five more in the shootout.
The Bulldogs rested a number of top players in advance of the playoffs beginning next week, including four of their top-10 scorers.
Defenceman Anderson opened the scoring for Hamilton with his first goal of the season 9:59 into the contest. He took a feed from rookie forward Bishop and stormed down the right wing, going wide around a Marlies blue-liner and stuffing the puck under Reimer’s pads.
Bishop made it 2-0 for the Bulldogs at 18:01 on a 2-on-1 with Dany Masse. Bishop kept the puck and made a slick deke to get around a sprawling Toronto defenceman in close before roofing the puck over Reimer’s blocker for his second of the year.
The third period was all Marlies, however.
Greenop’s second of the season for the Marlies broke Mayer’s shutout bid less than four minutes into the third. Defenceman Phil Oreskovic let a low, hard shot go from the point that Greenop tipped from the high slot, squeaking the puck past Mayer’s outstretched pad.
With less than two minutes to play, Foster picked up the puck in the Hamilton zone, split the defence and scored his ninth of the year. He created some space for himself with a nifty change of direction then let a low wrist shot go that caught Mayer napping.
Hamilton went 0-for-2 on the power play, while Toronto was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
After a scoreless overtime, Marlies rookie Paradis put a strong wrist shot through Mayer’s legs in the final round of the skills contest.
The Marlies play their third game in three days Sunday versus the Abbotsford Heat to close out their regular season season.
The Bulldogs are off until Thursday when they open the playoffs at Copps Coliseum against either Abbotsford or the Manitoba Moose.
Notes: It was “Bring Your Dog to the Game Day” at Ricoh Coliseum, 60 pooches watched from the stands. …Saturday’s game was the 12th meeting between the two teams this season, Hamilton won the series 6-4-2. …QMJHL player Olivier Fortier, 20, made his professional debut with Hamilton; OHLer Jamie Devane, 19, debuted for the Marlies.