THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — Goaltender Ben Scrivens was sharp early and often on Sunday.
Scrivens made 24 saves as the Toronto Marlies blanked the Abbotsford Heat 5-0 in American Hockey League action.
It was the third start in three days for Scrivens, who made 17 saves in a 6-1 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday after surrendering five goals on 28 shots in a 6-3 loss at Hamilton on Friday.
"Three games in three days, that’s what makes this league tough," Scrivens said. "It’s three games in under 48 hours, with some travel in there, it’s a real test on the body and on the mind. But the team is playing really well in front of me, boxing out guys and letting me see the puck.
"As a goalie in this league, if you can see the puck you’re expected to stop it."
Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins was understandably pleased with his goaltender.
"That’s the kind of goaltending we remember from last year (when Scrivens backstopped Toronto to the Calder Cup final)," said Eakins. "He was calm and cool out there and the team was calm and cool in front of him. The last two games have been giant strides for Ben."
Toronto (9-5-1) scored three times in seven minutes in the third period — including twice in 30 seconds — to seal the victory over Abbotsford.
"We can put the puck in the back of the net," Scrivens said. "Our team is full of guys who can score, who can dipsy-doodle, who can cycle the puck and score off of plays that look dead.
"Our offence is coming from a lot of different guys and a lot of different scenarios."
Ryan Hamilton, Nazem Kadri, Nicolas Deschamps, Matt Frattin and Will Acton scored for the Marlies, who won for the sixth time in seven games. Acton added an assist for a two-point game, while Mike Zigomanis chipped in with two assists.
"We’re a relentless group, just like last year," said Kadri, who’s riding a six-game point streak in which he has amassed two goals and 12 assists. "Once we score one or two goals, it seems like the sky’s the limit."
Leland Irving made 19 saves for the Heat (10-2-3), who entered the game in first place in the AHL’s Western Conference.
"That was a huge win," Eakins said. "Our guys played really hard. I’m proud of them, they executed plays and they fought back."
The Marlies led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 through 40 minutes. Toronto went 1-for-2 on the power play while Abbotsford was 0-for-6.
Hamilton opened the scoring at 10:18 of the first period when he beat a Heat defenceman to the front of the net and whacked Acton’s rebound past Irving.
Kadri made it 2-0 when he skated out from behind the Abbotsford net and roofed a shot over Irving’s shoulder at 2:03 of the second period.
Deschamps collected his fourth goal of the season when he accepted a pass in the slot from Zigomanis and whipped a wrist shot past Irving at 5:19 of the third period. Frattin made it 4-0 for Toronto when he knocked in a rebound for a power-play goal at 12:46, and Acton went hard to the net and closed out the scoring when he beat Irving at 13:16.
"Every time we have success, it’s a step forward for us and we feel better about ourselves," Scrivens said.
.Notes: There was an announced crowd of 5,248 at Ricoh Coliseum. … The Marlies are off until Thursday when they visit the Binghamton Senators, while the Heat travel to Texas next weekend for three games in three days.