Marlies snap home winless drought with 3-1 win over Springfield Falcons

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Forwards Colin Murphy, John Mitchell and Brad Leeb scored for the Marlies in front of 5,549 fans at Ricoh Coliseum. Centre Erik Westrum collected two assists, while Murphy added a helper for a two-point night.

The victory was Toronto's first win at home in more than two months, since beating the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2 back on Nov. 29. The Marlies had gone 0-8-1 on home ice in that stretch.

Left winger Eric Healey provided the scoring for the Falcons.

Marlies netminder Jean-Francois Racine blocked 22 of 23 shots for the victory. At the other end, Falcons stopper Jonathan Boutin made 24 saves on 27 shots.

Toronto was 1-for-8 on the power play, while Springfield went 1-for-10 with the man advantage.

The game was a matchup between two teams heading in the wrong direction in recent weeks. The Falcons, losers of six games in a row and 11 of their past 13 to fall to 22-27-1 overall, sit in last place in the Atlantic Division.

Meanwhile, Toronto, 19-26-5 on the season, is second-last in the North Division and 11th in the Western Conference. The Marlies entered the game on a three-game losing skid and had dropped eight of their previous 11 games.

Toronto led 2-0 after the first period and 2-1 through 40 minutes.

The Marlies took a while to locate the net in the first period, but then scored on two of their first three shots. Boutin made a nice save on a deflection by Marlies winger Ben Ondrus about six minutes into the game, but Murphy and Mitchell soon got the better of the Falcons goalie.

After taking a centring pass from Erik Westrum, Murphy slid the puck between Boutin's legs at 9:45 of the first to give Toronto a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later at 12:45, Mitchell gathered the rebound on Andy Wozniewski's point shot and fired the puck into a gaping net.

The game marked Wozniewski's AHL debut this season. The big defenceman made the Toronto Maple Leafs in training camp, but hurt his shoulder in mid-October and had been sidelined ever since.

Healey pulled the falcons within 2-1 6:46 of the second period, but Springfield couldn't get one past Racine after that. Leeb sealed the game for Toronto when he knocked in his own rebound at 14:11 of the final frame.

The Marlies try for their second consecutive win on home ice when the West Division-leading Chicago Wolves visit on Monday.



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