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NICE TO SEE YOU AGAIN


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – In their first meeting since the 2009 North Division Finals, the Grand Rapids Griffins rode a pair of Jeremy Williams power play goals to a 4-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose before a boisterous Friday-night crowd of 9,561 at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (26-34-2-2), who broke a five-game winless streak, climbed to within 12 points of the fourth-place Moose (31-28-5-1) in the race for the division’s final playoff spot. The two foes will stage a rematch at Van Andel Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Williams and the Griffins’ power play staked the home squad to a 2-0 lead before the midpoint of the opening period. He beat Cory Schneider with a one-timer from the left point at 4:01, then again went top-shelf from the bottom of the left circle at 8:26. Williams’ 11 power play goals now tie for the ninth-highest single-season total in franchise history.

The Moose broke through Daniel Larsson with just 1:42 left in the second period, when Lawrence Nycholat’s shot from the left point wove its way through a sea of bodies and into the back of the net. The Griffins quickly answered, though, to make it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes. Off a feed from Williams, Justin Abdelkader took a shot from the top of the left circle that was denied by Schneider, but a pinching Logan Pyett tapped the rebound home from the right side at 19:03. Williams tied his season high for points with the assist, while Abdelkader’s helper extended his career-high point streak to seven games.

While only eight Griffins and nine Moose from tonight’s lineups participated in last spring’s playoff series, the tempers fueled by this long-time rivalry flared early and often, as the game featured 10 roughing penalties, four unsportsmanlike conduct calls and a pair of fighting majors.

The Griffins secured the win with 43 seconds left in the third, when Patrick Rissmiller finished off a tic-tac-toe play to pot Abdelkader’s pass into an empty net.

Grand Rapids, which out-shot Manitoba 36-24 on the night, went 2-for-8 on the power play while denying the Moose on all six of their chances. Larsson earned the win with 23 stops.

Three Stars: 1. GR Williams (two power play goals, assist); 2. GR Mursak (two assists); 3. MTB Schneider (L, 32 saves)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
GriffVision Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: Owens  Armstrong  Fraser
WOOD Radio Highlights: Williams goal 1   Williams goal 2   Pyett goal   Rissmiller EN goal
Post-Game Sound Bites: Williams   Owens   Armstrong   Fraser
Official Game Report

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