TORONTO -- The Abbotsford Heat have arguably the toughest travel schedule in the American Hockey League -- but it didn't show on Saturday afternoon.
Abbotsford rolled into Toronto well after midnight but still looked like the fresher of the two teams in a 4-2 victory over the Marlies.
The Heat had been soundly beaten 5-0 by the Rochester Americans on Friday night but it didn't show the next afternoon.
"I think we played last night and we got in here at 2 a.m. and I thought we played better for two (games) in two (days)," said Heat head coach Troy Ward. "I thought they were maybe resting and sometimes that's tough to get going in an afternoon game."
Carter Bancks and Akim Aliu each had a goal and an assist for Abbotsford (28-25-8). Bancks got the assist on Aliu's goal in the second period then Aliu returned the favour in the third.
Tyler Ruegsegger and Blair Jones also scored for the Heat .
Greg Scott and Joe Colborne scored for the Marlies (30-20-6).
Toronto could just muster five shots in each of the first two periods before outshooting the Heat in the third but it wasn't enough to claw back the deficit.
"The biggest thing for me was I think our guys thought it was a five o'clock game. It was literally five o'clock when we woke up," said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins.
The game started at 3 p.m.
"It's rare from our team. I hope that it's a one-off for our team but it definitely concerned me."
It was a quiet afternoon for Heat goalie Danny Taylor, who only had to make 16 saves. Drew MacIntyre made 19 for Toronto. It was just MacIntyre's second loss in regulation since joining the Marlies in February.
Scott got Toronto started at 10:25 of the first period. After Tim Connolly got the move started by throwing the puck in front of the net from the left side, Carter Ashton fanned on his shot with the puck in front of the net.
That turned out to help Toronto, as Ashton's attempt drew out Taylor and opened up some space for Scott to bang in the puck from close range.
Just over three minutes later, Ruegsegger tied things up when he took a quick shot after breaking into the Marlies zone. It wasn't hit with much venom but it fooled MacIntyre.
"When one of those goes in you start to think it's not going to be your night," said Eakins. "But they got another one that was tipped in and it was one of those nights that way but I'm not going to use those as excuses.
"We weren't very good today."
Jones got his first goal as a member of the Heat at 6:05 of the second period on the power play when Drew MacKenzie fed him a pass that Jones one-timed a shot from the left face-off circle.
Six minutes after going ahead, Aliu gave the Heat some insurance. He one-timed a Bancks feed at 12:15.
"We've got a ton of character. We've got great leadership and it starts with our captain then onto our goaltenders and on down so we've got a great group of guys," said Aliu of his team.
The Heat won for just the second time in 11 games but are just two points back of the Marlies for the AHL North Division lead -- albeit with five more games played.
Bancks scored his third goal of the season with a little help from Aliu at the 1:51 mark of the third. Aliu floated a shot towards goal that Bancks deflected past MacIntyre.
Colborne scored by deflecting a Simon Gysbers shot from the left point in the final minute to get Toronto a late consolation goal.