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TATAR RETURNS, LASHOFF TRIUMPHS

Tomas Tatar (left), Brian Lashoff

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – One former and one current member of the Grand Rapids Griffins each acquitted himself very well at the 2010 World Junior Championship in Saskatchewan.

Defenseman Brian Lashoff, who made his pro debut with the Griffins late last season, won a gold medal with Team USA thanks to a Wednesday’s thrilling 6-5 overtime win against host Canada. Lashoff, 19, registered two assists and a plus-one rating in seven games, helping the United States to just its second goal medal (2004) in the history of the prestigious tournament.

Last spring, the Detroit Red Wings prospect made his debut with the Griffins as an 18 year old, tallying five points (1-4—5) in six regular season contests before posting five more points (1-4—5) in eight appearances during the 2009 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Meanwhile, left wing Tomas Tatar has been reassigned to the Griffins by the Red Wings from the Slovakian national junior team, and he is expected to return to Grand Rapids’ lineup tonight when the San Antonio Rampage pay a 7 p.m. visit to Van Andel Arena.

The 19-year-old Tatar, the youngest player in the American Hockey League, helped Slovakia to an eighth-place finish at the tournament, ranking among his country’s leaders with three goals (2nd), five points (T3rd) and a plus-two rating (1st) in six games.

Tatar, who stands seventh on the Griffins in scoring (8-9—17) despite missing their last 10 games, should bring a spark to a team that has gone 2-7-0-1 since his Dec. 15 departure. The first Red Wings draft pick (2nd choice, 60th overall in 2009) to start a season with the Griffins in his draft year, he currently stands among the AHL’s top rookies with eight goals (T15th), a plus-11 rating (8th), three game-winning goals (T5th) and a 0.200 shooting percentage (4th).

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