TORONTO - Facing an early deficit, the Toronto Marlies showed why they are one of the top teams in the American Hockey League's Western Conference.
Nicolas Deschamps had a goal and two assists as Toronto rallied for a 4-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday.
Deschamps scored his sixth goal of the season at 3:45 of the third period to put Toronto ahead 3-2. He led the rush on the right side and went cross-ice to Mike Mottau before heading to the net.
Mottau then sent a pass back across to Deschamps, who tapped the puck into the net and jumped up against the end glass in celebration.
"It's always good to come back in a game like that so we were in a little slump," said Deschamps. "It was great to come back like that and get two points on it."
Hamilton had taken a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Zack Stortini and Gabriel Dumont before Carter Ashton and Simon Gysbers tied it.
"It was a good start," said Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre. "I'm sure the Marlies coaches are probably not too happy with the way they started. They're a character team and they're a good team and they came back and beat us."
Spencer Abbott scored Toronto’s insurance goal at 12:32 of the third as the Marlies earned their first win in four games.
Jussi Rynnas made 26 saves for Toronto (24-14-4) while Robert Mayer stopped 29 shots for Hamilton (14-23-6).
As the clock ticked down, Rynnas pumped both arms emphatically and skated to the corner to celebrate with the fans as Toronto ended their longest losing streak of the season. They also lost three times consecutively in November.
"It was probably more a sense of relief," said Marlies assistant coach Gord Dineen of Rynnas. "I don't think it's all about goals against for him. It's more about wins and losses. That says a lot about the guy’s character. He was pretty pumped when he got the win."
Hamilton opened the scoring at 7:22 of the first when Stefan Chaput fed a low pass from the left corner to an open Stortini on right outside the crease. He scored on a shot that went between Rynnas's legs.
Just 11 seconds later, Marlies defenceman Jesse Blacker couldn't handle a pass behind the goal. The puck bounced to Dumont, who scored easily with a high shot.
"Sometimes you lose your focus a little bit when you get scored on that quickly with two goals in a row," said Dineen. "Then you start looking to try to do too much and we just re-adjusted and gave them a little wakeup call and the guys adjusted well to it."
Ashton capped a Marlies breakout when he circled around the Hamilton net from left to right and beat Mayer on the wraparound.
Toronto tied it on the power play when Gysbers took a pass from Deschamps and beat Mayer to the glove side.
Notes: Wednesday's game between the two clubs was originally to begin at 11 a.m. as a special school day game but will be played at 7 p.m. due to the ongoing dispute between Ontario teachers and the provincial government. ... The announced attendance was 7,209.