10/29/2010 7:00 PM
Oct. 29, 2010 – Oklahoma City Barons 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 SO
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After watching a resilient Grand Rapids squad rally to tie the score three times during regulation and twice during the shootout, the Oklahoma City Barons used a fifth-round goal by Brad Moran to finally put the Griffins away by a 5-4 count on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
Despite the Griffins’ third one-goal loss and second shootout setback at home this season, they extended their point streak to three games (2-0-0-1) and pushed their overall record to 4-2-0-2 on the campaign. They’ll try for that elusive first win at Van Andel Arena on Saturday when the Manitoba Moose visit at 7 p.m.
The Griffins spotted Oklahoma City (6-4-1-0) a pair of goals 1:12 apart before the game was five minutes old. During a power play, Moran took a backdoor pass from Jeff Petry and blasted a sharp-angle shot behind Thomas McCollum at 3:10. Following Liam Reddox’s subsequent tally from the left circle that gave the visitors a 2-0 lead, Griffins head coach Curt Fraser called a timeout that paid immediate dividends.
Just 39 seconds later, Cory Emmerton sent a pass from the right circle to Jan Mursak, whose second whack at the puck from the doorstep beat former NHL netminder Martin Gerber at 5:01. Grand Rapids then pulled even at the 13:25 mark, when Jamie Tardif brought the puck out from behind the Oklahoma City net, turned and whipped a shot past Gerber.
The Griffins spent much of the second period shorthanded, thanks to three straight penalties that at the time gave the Barons six power plays on the night to just one for the home team. The visitors took advantage for the second time at 13:36, as Teemu Hartikainen knocked home the rebound of Alex Plante’s shot from the point.
Grand Rapids again battled back to knot the score before the end of the period. With just 1:52 remaining, Ilari Filppula scored his fourth of the season from along the left goal line, making it 3-3 after 40 minutes.
For the third time in as many periods, the Barons scored first in the final frame at the 4:03 mark. Hartikainen forced a turnover behind the Griffins’ cage and sent a feed out front to Milan Kytnar, who buried the puck over McCollum’s left shoulder from the slot.
Grand Rapids used some late-game magic to forge its third deadlock with just 1:07 left in regulation, as Brendan Smith’s try from atop the left circle hit traffic in front, fluttered over Gerber and settled into the back of the net.
The Griffins tempted fate by incurring a delay of game penalty at 19:06 and watching a Barons blast from the right point cross the line a split second after the horn sounded. They killed off the remainder of the penalty during a frenetic overtime, and after Smith’s rocket hit the right post with one minute left, the nailbiter proceeded to the shootout.
Goals by former Griffin Alexandre Giroux in round one and Hartikainen in round three were answered by Filppula and Smith in rounds two and four, respectively. Moran then beat McCollum to put Grand Rapids in a must-score situation, and Francis Pare was unable to get a shot off on the other end.
McCollum extended his personal point streak to three games by making 21 saves, while Gerber stopped 25 shots for the win.
Notes: Oklahoma City finished 2-for-8 on the power play, while Grand Rapids was scoreless in its two opportunities…Mursak (five games) and Emmerton (four games) each tied his career-high point streak.
Three Stars: 1. OKC Hartikainen (goal, assist, shootout goal); 2. GR Filppula (goal, assist, shootout goal); 3. OKC Reddox (goal, assist)
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