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TWICE AS NICE


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two home games, two 2-0 deficits and two victories for the Grand Rapids Griffins, who rallied for the second straight night to take a 4-3 shootout win over the Toronto Marlies on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins, who overcame the Abbotsford Heat by a 5-3 final in Friday’s home opener, scored three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead before Toronto’s Andre Deveaux tallied with 5:37 remaining to force overtime. But in the eventual shootout, Michael Nylander and Francis Pare scored for Grand Rapids in the third and sixth rounds while Thomas McCollum stopped five of six Marlies shooters to win his home debut.

Grand Rapids (3-4-0-0) will try to reach 0.500 on Sunday when a 5 p.m. rematch with Abbotsford closes out a rare three-game weekend at Van Andel Arena.

Following nearly 30 minutes of scoreless play, the two teams erupted for three goals in a span of just 61 seconds midway through the second period. Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Griffins killer Jiri Tlusty potted a pass into a wide-open net from the right side at 8:56 on a play that McCollum had no chance on. Forty-two seconds later, Tyler Bozak sent a pass from his knees across the slot to Ryan Hamilton, who scored from the bottom of the left circle to give the visitors a two-goal lead.

However, former Marlie Jeremy Williams quickly answered at 9:57, stealing the puck at the right point, cutting in and beating Adam Munro with a shot from high in the right circle.

Eight minutes into the third period, the Griffins were awarded 1:32 worth of 5-on-3 power play time, and they took advantage to knot the score. Jakub Kindl sent a feed from the high slot down low to Patrick Rissmiller, who redirected the puck into the top of the net at 8:46 for his first goal as a Griffin.

John Vigilante also notched his first tally as a Griffin at the 11:18 mark, taking a pass from Evan McGrath in the left circle and beating Munro to give Grand Rapids a 3-2 advantage. The assist marked McGrath’s 100th point as a Griffin, making him the 20th player in franchise history to reach that milestone.

The lead lasted only until 14:23, when Deveaux buried a shot from close range one second after a Toronto power play had expired, setting up the extra session.

McCollum stopped 25 shots and helped deny the Marlies’ four power play tries, while Munro made 36 saves in defeat.

NOTE: Former Griffin Scott Parse made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings tonight in their game at Phoenix, becoming the 104th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL.

Three Stars: 1. GR Williams (goal); 2. TOR Tlusty (goal); 3. GR Rissmiller (power play goal)
 

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