TORONTO, Canada — Despite a deceiving 42-27 shot advantage by the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Toronto Marlies earned the 4-1 win on Friday at Ricoh Coliseum.
It was the final regular season meeting between the two teams, with the North Division-leading Marlies winning all four matchups.
Landon Ferraro was sent to the box for elbowing in the final minute of the first period, and Mitch Callahan nearly put the Griffins on the board in the final seconds of the period. He stole the puck at the blue line and had a shorthanded breakaway opportunity, but Drew MacIntyre made a pad save to close out the scoreless 20 minutes.
It was T.J. Brennan, the AHL’s top scoring defenseman, who took advantage of Ferraro’s penalty, scoring 1:17 into the second period. Brennan walked in and netted the power play marker from the right faceoff circle.
At 4:01, Josh Leivo doubled the Marlies’ lead. Andrew MacWilliam shot from the left point, and Leivo grabbed the rebound and shifted into the slot before beating Petr Mrazek. Mrazek eventually finished with 23 saves before being pulled for the extra skater in the final minutes of the game.
After controlling much of the play through the second and third periods, Ferraro broke the Griffins’ scoreless drought at 8:20. Jeff Hoggan chased a rebound from Adam Almquist’s shot into the corner and sent a centering pass to the crease. Ferraro poked at it until the puck lifted over MacIntyre, who turned away 41 of 42 shots in the win.
Despite being outshot 18-3 in the third period, Toronto (28-15-2-2) regained its two-goal lead at 12:05. Brandon Kozun received a long pass at the Griffins’ blue line and broke into the zone, eventually finding an opening in the left corner of the net from the high slot. Jerry D’Amigo topped the game off with an empty net goal with 1:09 remaining.
The Griffins (29-15-2-2) still maintain a lead over the Midwest Division, and will look to build on the lead when they face the Rochester Americans at 7:05 p.m. Friday at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo.