Lake Erie Monsters goaltender Calvin Pickard was an indomitable force on Sunday, making 40 saves as he shut out the Toronto Marlies 4-0 in American Hockey League afternoon action at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
Winger Geoff Walker scored two goals, including the game-winning goal in the first period. Thomas Pock had a goal and two assists, and Tyson Barrie also netted one for the Monsters (2-1).
Ben Scrivens took the loss for the Marlies (1-1), allowing three goals on 17 shots for a 0.823 goals-against average.
Much of Toronto’s struggles had to do with a power play that had gone dead a day after going 3-for-8 against the Rochester Americans.
They were 0-for-12 against the Monsters, including two 30-second five-on-threes that they failed to capitalize on.
This was Lake Erie’s third game in three nights, and the Marlies had hoped to take advantage of this by attacking early and aggressively in the first period. The game was without a whistle in the initial eight minutes of play as both teams exchanged chances on both sides of the rink.
But it was the Monsters that opened the scoring in the game at 8:23. Walker snuck past Marlies defenceman Korbinian Holzer, and was alone in front of the net when he received a pass from Paul Carey for the tap-in.
Barrie then gave them a two-goal lead at 15:34 when a miscue by Leo Komarov during a 4-on-4 gave the defenceman an open lane to go straight to the net and roof the puck.
The Marlies surrendered only two powerplays in the game, but they both created a 5-on-3 to open the second period. The Monsters made them pay, with Pock scoring their third goal off a point shot that was deflected in front of the net and past the screened Scrivens.
Midway through the game, it appeared that Nicolas Deschamps had scored Toronto’s first goal on a delayed penalty call. But when the play went to video review, the result was declared as inconclusive and therefore no-goal.
Video reviews of goals is a brand-new system that was put in place by the AHL this season, and this was the third time in the last two games that the Marlies have had their goals reviewed and called back.
The penalties were becoming a real issue for Lake Erie as they committed five straight and nine in total in the first two periods. This gave Toronto ample opportunity to pepper Pickard with 30 shots, twice the number of their opponents, in that time.
Then with seven minutes left in the third period, with nothing going for the Marlies offensively or otherwise, head coach Dallas Eakins opted to pull the goaltender before a face-off in the Monster’s zone.
Toronto lost the face-off, and Walker scored his second, an empty-net goal, on the ensuing play in front of a half-capacity crowd of 4,472 fans at Ricoh.