TORONTO – The Toronto Marlies beat the Springfield Falcons on the ice and on the scoresheet.
Taking advantage of their weaker opponents, the Marlies played a physical, bruising game with recent addition Ryan Hollweg doing a lot of damage along the boards and in open ice, beating the Falcons 3-1 on Sunday.
It was the Falcons’ third loss in three days and their eleventh straight overall.
“That’s the way we want to play every game,” said Toronto coach Greg Gilbert of Hollweg’s performance. “We wanted to punish them. Every little hit takes another piece of the pie out of a guy. We wanted to wear them down.”
Toronto linemates Jiri Tlusty and Tim Stapleton each extended scoring streaks to seven games thanks to a Stapleton-assisted Tlusty goal in the second period, which turned out to be the game winner.
“He’s a playmaker and I’m a playmaker, so we can do some stuff out there,” Tlusty noted. “We don’t have to just chip the puck in. (Stapleton) has great vision. If you get open, he’ll find you.”
Despite the fact the Falcons (16-30-6-2) have had such a rough ride of late, the Marlies (27-19-2-5) did not want to underestimate their opponents.
“They need points too,” Tlusty said. “It was a huge game for us, we didn’t sit back and we played our game.”
Gilbert was also pleased with the way his charges closed out their foe.
“They’re a fairly young team and they’re on their way up,” he said, noting that a lot of Springfield’s recent losses were one-goal affairs.
“We gave up 16 shots, so we didn’t give them a whole lot.”
Toronto right-winger Jeremy Williams opened the scoring with a laser wrist shot past Springfield goalie Devan Dubnyk that came in just under the crossbar five minutes into the first.
The Falcons struck back soon after when left winger Jean-Francois Jacques put one by Toronto goalie Adam Munro during the first power play of the game.
But the biggest roar of the first period came when Marlies centre Mark Bell pancaked Springfield’s Taylor Chorney with a huge hit behind the Falcons net. What followed was a great Toronto energy shift spearheaded by Hollweg, who threw about half a dozen solid bodychecks and caused a great scoring chance.
After a laconic start to the second period, Toronto’s Andre Deveaux attempted to break up the monotony with six minutes remaining. The big centre fired a shot off two posts that warranted a look upstairs by officials before being waved off.
Tlusty broke the deadlock in the second for Toronto, pouncing on a loose puck during a scramble and lifting it over a prone Dubnyk.
The Marlies put some distance between themselves and the Falcons on their first and only power play of the game, which didn’t occur until the third period. With the puck coming back to the point, Toronto centre Darryl Boyce rocketed a slapshot through a maze of bodies in front of the net, eluding Dubnyk in the process.
The young goaltender kept the Falcons in the game most of the afternoon, turning away a 30 shots, but he couldn’t do it all himself.
The lack of legs for Springfield was best represented midway through the third when both Tlusty and Toronto linemate Tim Stapleton both passed Falcons defenceman Sebastien Bisaillon en route to negating an icing.
Munro, rarely busy in the game, nonetheless turned aside a great scoring opportunity just moments later when he poke-checked a surging Shane Willis.