TORONTO -- Toronto Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins was looking for someone to step up on Sunday.
He found that someone in Brad Ross.
Ross had two goals and an assist as Toronto beat the Peoria Rivermen 4-1 in American Hockey League play.
Ross, who was a healthy scratch in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Abbotsford Heat, opened the scoring in the first period and finished it in the third with goals that were deflections of Jake Gardiner's shots.
"We're looking for who's got it today and he had it going," Eakins said of Ross. "He was involved right away -- not only in going to the net, he was involved verbally and he was on the body. We wanted to run with it and see what he could do."
Dylan Yeo and Jerry D'Amigo also scored for the Marlies (31-20-6), while Greg McKegg had three assists. Jussi Rynnas made 20 saves for his ninth win of the season.
Derek Nesbitt spoiled Rynnas' shutout bid with his 15th goal of the season and Peoria's (25-27-7) only goal of the night at 14:25 of the third period. Rivermen goalie Paul Karpowich made 26 saves in his AHL debut.
At 30-21, the Marlies outshot their opponents for the first time in four games. Toronto knew it wanted to challenge Karpowich and see if he was able to keep up in his first AHL appearance.
"When you see one guy coming in like that you want to challenge him and see what he's got," said Eakins. "It's not so much about shots, it's about chances and we had a ton of chances here and really good ones."
For his part, Ross' goals were more down to shrewd placement in front of the net over any particular finesse but they all count the same.
Ross was in the right place 7:13 into the first period. Gardiner let a shot go from the point and Ross deflected it in for his second goal of the season.
"The first one just kind of hit off my back leg and the second one was my (stick)," said Ross. "So I was trying to get in the way of it."
The Marlies doubled their advantage in the last minute of the opening period.
While playing shorthanded, Yeo jumped on a loose puck near his zone then raced up the ice on the right side. With no help on the rush, Yeo cut inside before snapping a quick shot just inside the post to Karpowich's right.
The intermission did little to slow the Marlies down as just 2:43 into the second D'Amigo put Toronto up three goals after taking a pass from McKegg.
McKegg led a quick Marlies counter-attack up the left into the Rivermen zone before going across to D'Amigo who found a spot in the top corner to put his wrist shot.
"We just tried to forget about (Saturday's) game," said McKegg, noting how much more accurate Toronto's passes were compared to the day before. "I think we were kind of sleeping the whole game and we came our here and we had our legs."
Already with goals at even strength and shorthanded, Ross' second of the game was similar to his first and was Toronto's first power play goal on their sixth chance with the man advantage.
The goal was originally credited to Gardiner who took the shot from the left faceoff circle but as was the case on the opening goal, Ross was in front again to deflect the shot.