TORONTO – Tyler Weiman stopped 32 shots while Darren Haydar and Cedric McNicoll each scored twice as the Lake Erie Monsters trounced the Toronto Marlies 7-0 in AHL action Sunday afternoon.
“We’re doing the little things right and it’s paying off,” Weiman said. “Everybody’s working together, whether it’s staying disciplined, or our power play clicking.
“All four lines are working the play down low and generating chances, making it hard on the opposition’s defence.”
It was the sixth loss in seven games for the Marlies (13-14-5), and their most lopsided defeat of the season.
T.J. Hensick added three assists as Lake Erie (13-17-3) beat Toronto for the second time in as many days.
“We were really skating,” said Monsters coach David Quinn. “We were playing smart hockey, we weren’t playing high-risk hockey, and we got rewarded.
“I thought we got what we deserved in the first period.”
Lake Erie opened the scoring three minutes in when McNicoll was left alone in front of goalie Joey MacDonald. MacDonald made the initial save on a point shot from defenceman Travis Gawryletz, but McNicoll was there to bang in the rebound.
Toronto’s best chance early came when right-winger Greg Scott stepped out of the penalty box and was sprung for a breakaway, but Weiman denied the opportunity.
The Monsters opened up a 2-0 advantage on a nice passing play that started with the speedy Hensick carrying the puck through the neutral zone and ended with Ryan Stoa feeding Haydar, who completed the tic-tac-toe play past a defenceless MacDonald.
Haydar struck again minutes later on the power play, corralling a bouncing rebound and popping MacDonald’s water bottle off the top of the net with a backhand. Seconds later, Brian Willsie added to the lead.
The Marlies had a glorious chance to get on the scoreboard late in the first when they were given a 5-on-3 power play – which turned into a long 5-on-2 when Lake Erie’s Tom Fritsche broke his stick – but Toronto couldn’t convert.
“That was huge,” Quinn said of his goaltender. “He stood tall during that 5-on-3.”
Weiman continued his solid play in the second, getting down in the splits to deny a streaking Tyler Bozak on a breakaway early in the period.
The young netminder also got some help from his goal posts during a spirited but ultimately unsuccessful Marlies power play midway through the period, then again minutes later when Toronto’s Darryl Boyce struck iron instead of netting.
Lake Erie added to the lead late in the second when McNicoll collected his second of the game on a nifty deke to finish off a 2-on-1 with Fritsche.
Stoa and defenceman Ray Macias added to the carnage in the third period with goals half a minute apart.
“We’re better than we were earlier in the season,” Quinn said. “But the bottom line is we have to measure ourselves against ourselves, not against our opponent.”
Notes: Forward Ben Gordon made his Toronto Marlies debut. Gordon was the ECHL player of the week with the Reading Royals. … Marlies right-winger Christian Hanson missed his fourth straight game with an upper body injury. … MacDonald was dinged with his seventh straight loss as a member of the Marlies.