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Hamilton's hat trick leads Marlies past Americans

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The Canadian Press
3/16/2013 7:45:49 PM
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TORONTO -- Ryan Hamilton doesn't like talking about himself, even when he scores a hat trick.

The Marlies captain would rather credit his teammates, and did just that after scoring three goals to lead Toronto in a 6-1 win over the Rochester Americans on Saturday in the American Hockey League.

"I know you're going to get mad at me," Hamilton said, "but I'm just glad we got the win."

It's Hamilton's second hat trick in his eight-year pro career. He's now tied for second overall in goals in the AHL with 28, four behind league-leader Tyler Johnson, who recently got called up to the Tamp Bay Lightning from the Syracuse Crunch.

That passes his previous career-high of 25 set in 2011-12 and his 44 points are just seven shy of the 51 he set last season as well.

Hamilton, who turns 28 in April, has played three games in the NHL, all with the Maple Leafs.

"My goal and dream is to play in the NHL," he said. "In saying that, I don't really control that. I control trying to be the best hockey player I can be and helping out the team."

Hamilton got it all going with his first goal midway through the first period with the Marlies on the penalty kill. With Tim Connolly off for hooking, Dylan Yeo chipped the puck out of the defensive zone to a streaking Hamilton, who caught the puck at the Americans' blue-line and made a forehand deke around goaltender David Leggio.

That set the Marlies record for short-handed goals at eight.

"That's pretty cool," Hamilton said. "That's something I'll look back on at the end of my career. But all the credit goes to my teammates. That's what it's all about. I just finished off the plays by them."

After that goal, King thought it might just be Hamilton's night.

"I told him, `Just keep shooting pucks on the net -- you never know,"' said Marlies assistant coach Derek King. "And all of a sudden he goes and gets another one. Good for him. He's worked hard and he's deserved it."

Brad Ross, Greg Scott and Kenny Ryan scored the other goals for Toronto (33-20-6). Drew MacIntyre, who played 23 games for the Americans last season, made 30 saves for the win. Simon Gysbers had a pair of assists. Ryan had two points as well.

"We've been playing tight games, winning games 2-1 and 3-2," King said. "We were due for a breakout in goal scoring tonight and it was good to see some of the guys get some goals.

"We match up well against (Rochester), but they're a good hockey team. I thought it was going to be a tighter game tonight. I just think we caught them a little off guard."

Maxime Legault had the lone goal for Rochester (32-24-4). Leggio played his league-leading 52nd game of the season in goal, stopping 26 shots in defeat.

The win puts the Marlies four points up on the Americans in the North Division, with one game in hand.

Hamilton's other goals both came in the third period.

He got his second of the game at 4:41 of the final frame when his shot from the high slot was deflected and knuckled its way over Leggio's left shoulder. The hat trick came with exactly two minutes left, when he snapped a shot from the slot past Leggio.

Toronto finished its 10-game home stand 9-2-1. The Marlies own the AHL's best home record at 23-8-2, though they're just 10-12-4 on the road.

"It was good for to get some wins before this long road trip," Hamilton said. "This is crunch time. It's fun and exciting to play. Every game is going to be a playoff type game."

Notes: Toronto is 7-1 against Rochester this seasonaKevin Marshall, acquired in a recent trade with the Washington Capitals, played his first game as a Marlie after spending the season with the Hershey BearsaAnnounced attendance was 7,609a Toronto was eighth in the AHL in attendance, averaging 6,550 coming into the game.

Ryan Hamilton (Photo: Texas Stars)

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(Photo: Texas Stars)
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