TORONTO - John Mitchell's three-point game helped the Toronto Marlies march past the Binghamton Senators 5-1 Saturday.
Mitchell contributed a goal and two assist, while defenceman Derrick Walser and right-winger Jeremy Williams each chipped in a goal and an assist.
Tyler Doig and David Ling also scored for Toronto, while Matt Kinch answered back for the Senators in front of 4,194 fans Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum. Justin Pogge made 12 saves for the win as he and the Marlies earned their second straight victory over the Sens after a 4-2 triumph in Binghamton on Wednesday. The victory also gave Pogge 20 on the season, establishing a Marlies franchise record.
Mitchell said the Marlies' game plan was a simple one.
"We wanted to come out with a strong game, north-south, get the pucks in, get the pucks out and hit their 'D' because we kind of figured they had slower 'D' and it seemed to work," he said.
As for his offensive success, Mitchell believes it was an outgrowth of him focusing first on his defensive play.
"I just felt really good," the centre said. "I was trying to play well in my defensive zone; you know, take care of your own end and your offensive chances will come from that and they did. It was definitely a good night for me and I felt like I had really good legs and speed."
Despite the Marlies holding Binghamton to just 13 total shots, the game remained a relatively close affair until midway through the final period when Toronto scored two quick goals to seal the victory.
First, Williams extended his points streak to four games when he scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season on a shot Sens goalie Brian Elliot would like to have back.
Then, David Ling chased Elliot from the net when he fired home his 11th goal of the season to make it 5-1. Jeff Glass came on to finish the game in the Binghamton net.
Toronto (37-13-1-4) jumped out to a 2-0 lead less than nine minutes into the proceedings and it looked like the visitors might be blown out early.
But the Senators (26-23-5-4) settled in and closed the gap to 2-1 midway through the second when Kinch, a defenceman coming late on the play, took a pass from Justin Mapletoft in the slot and wired a wicked shot over Pogge's glove and just under the cross-bar for his sixth goal of the year.
However, Mitchell seventeenth goal of the year restored Toronto's two-goal cushion when he fired a wrist shot over goalie Elliot's glove from a sharp angle late in the second frame. Marlies coach Greg Gilbert would be comforted if he saw Mitchell use his strong shot more.
"He probably could have had (more points) if he'd shoot the puck," Gilbert said. "He gets in the bad habit of thinking of too many things in (odd-man rush) situations. Instead of just picking one and trying to execute the play, he's got two or three things going and he ends up behind the net on a 2-on-1, he's been doing that quite often. It's something that we've got to break him of and he's got to understand we've got to at least get a shot in those 2-on-1 situations. It's something he's got to continue to work on."
Walser's sixteenth goal of the year opened the scoring just 1:26 into the contest when he charged in from the blue-line and tried to send a pass to teammate Kris Newbury at the side of the crease. Before the puck could make it to Newbury's stick, it caromed off a Binghamton defender and past Elliot (11-14-0).
Walser next pass found his intended target, as he fired the puck from the blue-line cross ice to the bottom of the circle, where Doig was standing to one-time it home. It was Doig's first AHL goal in his seventh game since being called up from the ECHL's Columbia Inferno.
The Marlies' tight defensive play was a welcomed change from past games for Gilbert.
"The last little while we've been giving up 30, 32, 33 shots a game and you're not going to win too many hockey games when you keep doing that," Gilbert said. "We went over some things in the room and we've been working on some things and the guys understand, I think, how simple the game can be when you're not playing in your own end."
NOTES: Williams, who scored the game-winner on Wednesday versus Binghamton, has three goals and two assists in his last four games. The Senators' 13 shots is the fewest Toronto has allowed all season.