HAMILTON — The Toronto Marlies had two firsts tonight.
Their first win away and Simon Gysbers scored his first goal this season, in overtime, against the Hamilton Bulldogs for a 5-4 win on Friday at the Copps Coliseum.
Head coach Dallas Eakins knew Gysbers’ shot was coming in those extra minutes.
“Simon is a guy that’s got a huge shot and has a lot of weight behind it,” Eakins said, outside the Marlies dressing room after the game.
“When that puck is coming to him in overtime, I know it’s either going to hurt somebody or it’s going into the net.”
Gysbers, who appeared in his third game since the start of the season, also earned his first point in the victory.
“Yeah, it was nice,” he said. “It feels nice to get the win and I feel really good about it.”
The Richmond Hill native was the Marlies top scoring defenceman last year. He appeared in 68 regular games and put in five goals and 24 assists.
Toronto has only been away once so far where they lost to the Bulldogs 4-1 on Oct. 19.
And the win on Friday did not come easy.
“I thought it was one of those roller coaster games up and down,” Eakins said. “It was pretty evenly matched but winning the game after having to kill that penalty in overtime is a huge building block for our season.
“It’s one of those games where you have to stick with the game plan and keep generating chances.”
Carter Ashton opened the scoring for the blue and white in the first period but Hamilton tied it at one after 19 seconds. Jake Gardiner gave his team the lead once again in the second but another goal was scored by the Bulldogs on the power play.
Goals were being scored back and forth until Gysbers finished the game with the OT winner.
The victory on Friday was the start of an eight-game road trip for the Marlies. It will also be their first time traveling outside the country this year.
“It’s great,” Eakins said. “We have about a week off here so getting the win gives us a good taste in our mouth.
“The thing that I thought we had tonight was great energy. We were fueled up. We were ready to go.
“The good thing is that we got guys here that went through the battles last year. For me tonight was that we took a baby step into the right direction with how we want to play, how we want to battle through things and how we don’t want to be affected by the ups and downs of a game.”
Ben Scrivens was back in net after missing the past two games. He made 39 saves while Hamilton’s goalie Peter Delmas made 24.
“It was good to get back out there,” Scrivens said. “It was kind of a weird game.
“I didn’t feel like I was fighting it. I could see the puck but it’s weird to have four goals go in and still feel like you played pretty good. But the boys came up big to get the win for us.”
The Marlies have more than a week off before they travel to Abbotsford to face the Heat on Nov. 1 and 2.
Their final away game will be against the Bulldogs again on Nov. 16.