Despite being out-shot two to one by the visiting Marlies, the Manitoba Moose entered the third period tied at 1-1, thanks to the performance of Eric Comrie between the pipes.
His 29 saves at that point had frustrated Toronto, who were controlling the vast majority of the play during even strength.
The final frame began in the same vein as Brendan Leipsic set about the Manitoba defense. A spinarama effort would be denied but he failed to give up on the play and almost teed up Brett Findlay after beating two defenseman. The third man on that line, Jeremy Morin, was then the beneficiary of a giveaway but Comrie was equal to the effort.
After surviving the barrage, Darren Kramer broke in behind the Marlies defense and Stuart Percy had to slash the left winger to stop him getting a shot off.
Toronto would kill the penalty despite Andrew Campbell and Zach Hyman losing their sticks on different occasions.
A scramble in front of the Marlies net was survived by the visitors and in clearing the danger, Matt Frattin drew a penalty which would prove the turning point.
Controlling the puck from the face-off, Toronto scored just eleven seconds into the power play, as a blast from the point by Josh Leivo beat Comrie all ends up.
Back on the powerplay almost immediately following the go-ahead tally, Toronto extended their advantage with a beautifully worked goal.
Leivo slid the puck to Brennan on the right goal line, who immediately found Findlay in the slot with a one time pass. It would have been easy for Findlay to shot but he settled the puck in an instant and shifted it left to Morin who sniped it home from his off-wing.
Toronto made it three goals in under five minutes back at even strength. James Martin guided the puck into the path of Nikita Soshnikov who had jumped off the bench a second earlier. The Russian wasted no time in marauding his way down the left wing and with no pressure on him, fired home from the left face-off dot.
Up by three goals with ten minutes to play, Ray Emery wasn’t overly tested by the home team for the remainder of the game. He would be called upon to make one big save from Nic Petan, after the Manitoba forward found himself with space in front. That’s as close as the Moose would come to putting a dent in the final score line.
A 4-1 victory was nothing more than Toronto deserved for a dominating performance.
They may have been slow out of the blocks on Friday night, but made sure that wasn’t the case in this one. A Zach Hyman shot at the three minute mark from the right dot, produced a rebound for Casey Bailey in the slot but Eric Comrie denied him with a fine stop. The Marlies could smell blood and poured on the pressure, forcing Comrie into a string of good saves to keep the game scoreless.
With just three officials in charge, the game came to an abrupt halt when Linesmen Justin Verhaeghe had to leave the game hurt. Play would restart with just two officials, and a call was obviously made by those in command, as we were back to a three man crew in the second period with a different official having made it to the MTS Centre.
Toronto’s penalty kill would be called into action with Frederick Gauthier called for hooking seconds after the officials failed to penalise the home team for hauling down Nikita Soshnikov.
Ray Emery would only be required to make the one save, holding onto a blast from the point by Brenden Kichton.
Leivo would be the next to be turned aside by Comrie, who was excellent on a following man advantage for Toronto, even allowing for a little puck luck that he certainly deserved.
Kramer exited the penalty box and made a bee-line for Rich Clune- the two had clashed leading upto the previous power play. Clune jumped on the Manitoba man and to be fair to Kramer, he gave everything he had in what was probably a draw in the fighting stakes.
A huge hit by Josh Morrissey on Zach Hyman would be the last notable event of the opening period, as the two teams dislike for one another ramped up a level.
The opening goal came just a minute into the middle frame. More Toronto pressure led to Manitoba icing the puck. The Marlies won the resulting face-off and a shot from Morin bounced off a defenseman in front, allowing Brennan to tuck home the rebound from the high slot.
Unable to double the lead on a following power play despite efforts from Percy and Campbell, Manitoba pushed back after the kill.
The Moose orchestrated a 2-on-1 break but were unable to beat Emery, with the goaltender making not one but two toe saves to deny Petan and Kichton.
The play immediately headed back the other way, Leivo combining with Findlay but the latter saw his effort well stopped. Leivo followed the play up and although he had Comrie beaten, saw his rebound effort ring off the post.
Comrie would continue to frustrate Toronto as the Marlies fired 17 shots during the middle frame.
Gauthier showing some playmaking ability with a no-look reverse pass to find Frattin in the slot but once again the Manitoba goaltender was there to keep his team in the game. The Moose would respond to the efforts of Comrie by tying the game up on the power play. It was a debateable high sticking call, though the home team made the most of their good fortune by taking advantage in just 35 seconds.
A rocket of a shot from JC Lipon on a feed from Morrissey tied the game and brought about the best spell of pressure from Manitoba in the whole game. Austen Brassard saw his wraparound attempt smothered by Emery. The goaltender then bailed out his captain after a turnover and denied Ryan Olsen after the Moose forward had been sent in all alone with a minute to play in the second period.
The three goal barrage in the third period was just desserts for a Marlies team who continue to win despite many high profile absentees.
Post Game Notes:
The Toronto Marlies out-shot Manitoba 45-22 and recorded a fifth straight victory.
T.J Brennan recorded his 20th assist of the season and is now tied for the Marlies lead in points.
Jeremy Morin scored his first goal for the Marlies and it was a great snipe. A two point game for him.
Brett Findlay is certainly taking advantage of the opportunities to him afford by injuries. His first two point game for Toronto, both assists coming on the power play.
A solid performance from Ray Emery who looked sharper after a week of practise. Twenty saves for the victory and he’s won two of three starts for Toronto.
Toronto have hit the sixty point mark (29-7-0-2) and own a goal differential of plus 56.