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CRUNCH ALL YOU WANT


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
– The Grand Rapids Griffins continued their winning ways on home ice on Wednesday while adding to the Syracuse Crunch’s recent misery, skating to a 5-1 win at Van Andel Arena.

Ville Leino contributed a goal and an assist and Jimmy Howard made 20 saves to help the Griffins move into a tie for second place in the North Division with Hamilton. Grand Rapids (14-7-3-3) improved to 6-1-1-2 in its last 10 home games by sending Syracuse (14-13-0-1) to its seventh loss in a row.

Grand Rapids will continue its 4-in-5 set by hosting the Milwaukee Admirals on both Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Griffins dominated the opening period, out-shooting the Crunch 13-1 at one point and building a 2-0 lead. Darren Haydar notched his team-high 11th goal on the power play just 1:57 into the contest, blasting a slap shot from the point past Syracuse netminder Dan LaCosta. Darren Helm extended the advantage at the 9:42 mark, splitting two defenders at the Crunch blueline, bearing down alone on LaCosta and popping the puck over him from point-blank range.

The teams traded goals 12 seconds apart midway through the second frame. Francis Pare scored the Griffins’ second power play goal of the night from the slot off Mattias Ritola’s pass from the end boards at 12:12, but former Michigan State star Mike York quickly answered against Howard on a screened shot.

Leino restored the three-goal cushion with 1:40 left in the period. He carried the puck up the right side and sped around his defender and LaCosta before slipping the puck across the line for a shorthanded goal, his first lamp-lighter since Oct. 25.

The Griffins continued to apply pressure in the third, making it a 5-1 contest at the 15:04 mark when Justin Abdelkader chopped a Leino feed past LaCosta from the left circle for his 10th of the campaign.

Eleven different Griffins tallied points during the contest, helping Grand Rapids tie its largest margin of victory this season.

LaCosta finished with 33 stops for the Crunch, who were out-gunned 38-21 for the game.


Three Stars: 1. GR Ritola (2 assists); 2. GR Leino (SH goal, assist); 3. GR Haydar (PP goal)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
GriffVision Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3
Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2 3
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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