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MONSTERS DODGE BULLET


CLEVELAND
– The Grand Rapids Griffins climbed out of a four-goal deficit in the final 20 minutes of Sunday’s matinee at the Quicken Loans Arena, but the Lake Erie Monsters held on for a 6-5 shootout win.

Darren Haydar notched four points (1-3—4) for Lake Erie (29-27-0-5) on Sunday, finishing a two-game series against his former club in which he collected eight points (3-5—8) with a plus-4 efficiency.

Grand Rapids’ (25-33-2-2) lineup is expected to be bolstered by recently-assigned Brad May when the Griffins travel to Peoria on Thursday for an 8 p.m. EST tilt with the Rivermen.

The Monsters struck first when Tom Preissing’s turnaround slap shot from the top of the left circle snuck past Daniel Larsson at 3:49 of the opening period. Thomas McCollum entered the game to relieve Larsson after T.J. Hensick took a feed from Haydar and scored on a wrist shot from the hash mark at the 10:09 mark.

A fluke goal gave the Monsters a 3-0 lead at 16:29 of the period. Grand Rapids attempted to clear the puck up the middle of the defensive zone, but the puck bounced off Ray Macias and ended up in the Griffins’ net.

During a power play in the middle frame, Hensick set up Haydar for a one-timer at the left circle to put Lake Erie up 4-0 at 4:21, but Patrick Rissmiller put Grand Rapids on the board by picking off a Monsters’ breakout attempt to blast a shot through Chris Whitley at 5:48.

Lake Erie made it 5-1 at 19:03 when Kevin Montgomery’s snap shot from the right circle came right to Haydar at the left doorstep for an easy finish into the yawning net.

The Griffins’ four-goal surge in the third period began when Rissmiller chipped a rebound over a net-front scramble for his second tally of the night at :35. Then Jamie Tardif tipped in Mattias Ritola’s shot at the 4:02 mark and Justin Abdelkader finished a Jakub Kindl attempt at 14:50 to knot the score at 5-5 and force overtime.

The extra session ended in a stalemate, setting up the final shootout drama in which Jeremy Williams and Abdelkader scored for Grand Rapids, before Brian Willsie scored Lake Erie’s third shootout goal for the win.

Larsson stopped four-of-six and McCollum made 20 saves for Grand Rapids, while Whitley stopped 37 shots in his American Hockey League debut.

Three Stars: 1. Willsie (shootout goal); 2. LE Haydar (1 goal, 3 assists); 3. GR Rissmiller (2 goals).

Griffins Game Rewind
AHLlive Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: Abdelkader goal
Official Game Report

 


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