PROVIDENCE, R.I. – To say Ryan Hamilton’s timing was impeccable would be an understatement.
Hamilton, a forward for the Toronto Marlies, completed a hat trick by scoring with 11.2 seconds left in regulation Monday night to give the Western Conference All-Stars a 7-6 victory over the East in the AHL All-Star game at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Hamilton was named the game’s MVP.
Defenseman Chris Summers, the Portland Pirates’ lone representative, skated a regular shift with Adirondack’s Brandon Manning.
“I think for Providence and the players they got a taste of what Ryan Hamilton does for our organization all the time,” said West Coach Dallas Eakins, the Marlies’ coach. “He takes things seriously. He’s a real professional.
“The way he scored his goals tonight were by going to the net. That’s what he does for our team.”
Providence’s Trent Whitfield tied the game at 6-6 at 17:30 by beating Binghamton’s Robin Lehner on a breakaway.
“You don’t think about it too much,” Hamilton said of the time winding down in regulation.
“You know that time’s running down and if you get an opportunity you have to take advantage of it.
“(Mark) Arcobello did all the work. I pretty much just went to the net. He made a great pass and I was able to put it in. I didn’t know there were 11 seconds left. But it was nice to know there was going to be a short amount of time left.”
The West led 4-1 after the first period.
Houston’s Justin Zucker sparked the West by scoring at 7:39 on a backhander for a 1-0 lead.
The East tied it at 11:14 when Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Chad Kolarik snapped home a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle that beat Charlotte’s Justin Peters.
That deadlock lasted only until 13:25 when Texas’ Matt Fraser scored on a partial breakaway.
Chicago’s Brad Hunt made it 3-1 when he beat Providence’s Niklas Svedberg at 14:35.
The West added to the lead when San Antonio’s Drew Shore scored at 15:11.
The East chipped two goals off its deficit in the second period on goals by Springfield’s Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (on a two-on-one break) and Worcester’s Bracken Kearns (wrist shot from the slot) 1:34 apart.
Hamilton scored his first goal with 3:17 left in the second period as Springfield goalie Curtis McElhinney was caught out of position, leaving an open net.
The East made it a one-goal game when Kolarik scored with 2:49 left.
The West made it 6-4 on Hamilton’s second goal at 5:41 of the third period, deflecting in a pass from Lake Erie’s Andrew Aggozino.
The East scored the next two games to tie the game.
Manchester’s Tyler Toffoli scored at 7:31 during a scrum in front of the net. And then Whitfield got the tying goal in the final three minutes.
But Hamilton saved the West.
“I know it’s an All-Star Game but it’s nice to get the win and celebrate with the boys,” Hamilton said.
“It was a good time.”