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ENCORE PERFORMANCE


MOLINE, Ill. - Just 11 days after setting a team season-high with 43 saves in a win over the Quad City Flames, Jimmy Howard upped the ante with 44 saves against those same Flames in a 3-2 win at the I Wireless Center on Wednesday night. Francis Lemieux scored the game-winner with 5:24 remaining to give the Grand Rapids Griffins a four-game season sweep of the Flames.

Quad City launched 18 shots in the second period and 46 over the course of the game, both of which are season-highs against the Griffins this season, but Howard was up to the task. Matt Keetley stopped 18 shots in net for the Flames (17-22-5-5) who held a commanding 46-21 lead in shots on goal.

The Griffins (30-9-6-4) tied a season-high with a point in their eighth consecutive game, including a season-high five game road point streak going back to Jan. 3. Those streaks have helped Grand Rapids climb to within one point of first-place Manitoba with two games in hand.

The Griffins scored on their first shot of the game, a blast from Garrett Stafford that was deflected by Darren Haydar. Stafford took the puck on the left point and launched a low shot that the captain redirected from the left side of the net to put Grand Rapids up 1-0 just 3:00 into the game.

Stafford picked up his second point of the night and made it a two-goal game with his power-play goal at 10:36 of the first period. He controlled the puck on the left side and skated in before throwing a shot on net. The puck deflected off a Flames defenseman and into the back of the net for a 2-0 Griffins lead.

The Flames got on the scoreboard 39 seconds into the second period when Brett Sutter wristed a shot from the top of the left circle that snuck inside the left post to cut the Griffins’ lead in half. Jamie Lundmark tied the game at 2-2 with 4:11 remaining in the second after he converted on a rebound from in close on the left side

With 5:54 left in the game, Evan McGrath stole the puck at center ice and skated down the left side on an odd-man rush with Lemieux. McGrath passed it to the middle where Lemieux cut in toward the net and tipped the puck past the right skate of Keetley to give Grand Rapids the 3-2 win.

Three Stars: 1. GR Lemieux (Game-winning goal); 2. GR Howard (44 saves); 3. QCY Sutter (Goal)

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2
Official Game Report


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