TORONTO -- Marlies forward Joe Colborne proved the old adage that when you throw the puck towards the goal, good things happen.
Colborne scored 52 seconds into overtime as Toronto beat the Abbotsford Heat 4-3 in AHL action on Saturday.
He led a Marlies rush in overtime and his screened effort, which wasn't terribly fierce, beat Heat goalie Barry Brust.
"It was the end of a long shift and I couldn't believe the amount of space they gave me in the zone to kind of wheel down the side and cut across and threw it back across my body," said Colborne. "It's not very pretty but I'll gladly take it."
Brad Ross, Jamie Devane and Greg Scott also scored for Toronto (38-21-2), while Drew MacIntyre made 19 saves.
Akim Aliu, Sven Baertschi, and Ben Street had the goals for Abbotsford (31-29-4). Danny Taylor and Barry Brust combined on 15 saves.
It was a welcome return home for the Marlies, who just completed a gruelling seven-game road trip on Friday. After their third game in four nights, the team now has a welcomed four-day break between games.
"We were living on fumes and that game was kind of like the road trip," said Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins. "It wasn't how we wanted the third to go, but it was hard to get upset knowing what kind of state these guys were in coming off the road. To be able to step up and get the two points back was huge."
Aliu's goal at 10:42 put the Heat up front in the first period. The Marlies had tried to break out of their zone but a misplaced pass ended up on Aliu's stick and his quick snap-shot beat MacIntyre.
The Marlies levelled the game less than five minutes later with Aliu in the penalty box for a slashing penalty. Just 12 seconds into their power play, Ross deflected Colborne's shot from the point past Taylor.
The Marlies then took the lead at 17:45 when Devane jumped on his own rebound and scored from close range.
Taylor's night was done when Scott scored a 6:52 of the second. He drifting through the slot before shooting into the corner.
The Heat didn't take long to cut the two-goal deficit as the game was tied within the first four minutes of the third.
First Baertschi scored a power-play goal for Abbotsford as he got the puck right in front of the net immediately following a face-off. He had plenty of time to tuck away his 10th goal of the season at 1:12.
Street tied up the game at 3:53 when he banged home a loose puck after a scramble to MacIntyre's right.
Heat head coach Troy Ward was proud that his team was at least able to scramble back and salvage a point. They're still on the outside of the playoff picture and have fewer games left to play than other teams they're chasing, but four of those games are at home.
Perhaps more importantly, for a team with one of the most onerous travel schedules in the league, they get a whole week rest before making one final push for a playoff spot.
"We understand where we are in the standings," said Ward. "We don't have games in hand and we want to live to fight another day, so we have to play with a lot of urgency every night.
"The blessing for us is that we get we get a week of rest. Our guys are tired and we need the rest to prepare ourselves for those four games."