Dec. 29: Marlies 3 at Grand Rapids 1

Marlies scorers: Ashton (7), Hamilton 2 (14)
Griffins scorers: Nyquist (10)
Links: Box Score | Discussion boards

Forward lines:: Hamilton–Aucoin–Abbott, D’Amigo-McKegg-Frattin, Ashton–Colborne–Scott, Ross-Acton–Deschamps
Defence pairings: Fraser-Holzer, Yeo-Kostka, Gysbers-Blacker
Goaltenders: Rynnas (Win 60:00 minutes played, 27 SV, 1 GA), Scrivens (0:00)

The Marlies closed out 2012 with a 3-1 win over the Grand Rapids on Saturday night. Goaltender Jussi Rynnas made 27 saves in the victory to extend his record to 5-1-1 in seven appearances, lowering his goals against average to 1.81.

The game turned on a fluke goal by Carter Ashton when Griffins netminder Tom McCollum left the net, mistakenly believing that a delayed penalty was coming against Toronto.

Ryan Hamilton scored the eventual game-winner, and also the insurance marker into an empty net. The Marlies captain has registered nine points in his last 7 games, six of them goals. Toronto’s penalty-kill, which surrendered two goals the night before, was a perfect 6-for-6 on the night including a successful kill or a two-man disadvantage.

The win vaulted the Marlies into first place in the Western Conference (19-9-1-2, 41 points). The team is guaranteed to have the highest winning percentage in the conference as of December 31; as a result, Dallas Eakins will coach the AHL West All-Stars in the game next month.

Toronto’s next game is Wednesday, January 2 vs. Hamilton.