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ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Nov. 5, 2010 – Manitoba Moose 6 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A bad-luck bounce with less than five minutes left in the third period enabled Manitoba to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, as the Moose escaped Van Andel Arena with a wild 6-5 victory.

After the Griffins had battled back from two goals down to knot the score at five, Thomas McCollum denied Jordan Schroeder’s try from the left side, but the rebound bounced off Brendan Smith, who was tying up a Moose player in the slot, and landed behind the Griffins netminder.

As a result, Grand Rapids finished the season series with a 3-1 mark against the Moose (6-5-0-1), who broke a four-game skid despite playing their sixth game in eight days. The Griffins (5-3-0-2), who saw their own four-game point streak come to an end, will look to get back on track Saturday when they host the Chicago Wolves at 7 p.m.

Jamie Tardif got the scoring underway just 3:13 into the game, setting up shop in front of Moose goalie Eddie Lack to redirect Francis Pare’s feed from the left boards and give him three goals in the last two games against Manitoba. The Moose, however, would score the next three goals of the frame to take a 3-1 lead into the locker room.

Cody Hodgson netted the first two for the visitors, blasting home a one-timer from the top of the left circle during a power play at 4:36, then scoring from the right side on an attempted centering pass that was inadvertently deflected past McCollum at 5:20. Sergei Shirokov made it a two-goal Moose advantage with 3:57 remaining, fighting off a defender and crashing the crease to finish off a breakaway.

The goals came fast and furious in the early part of the second period, with the Griffins twice getting within one before the Moose restored their two-goal cushion. Tomas Tatar potted a rebound into a gaping cage past a sprawled Lack from the slot at 2:19, but Shirokov tapped in a pass at the right post 1:55 later.

The Griffins took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to pull within 4-3 at 6:43, with Derek Meech whacking the puck across the line as Lack tried to cover it in the crease. But when Pare’s errant pass escaped the Manitoba zone just as the Moose’s second penalty expired, the Griffins could only watch as the freed Mario Bliznak picked up the puck at the Grand Rapids blue line, broke in alone and beat McCollum with a backhand.

Continuing to scratch and claw, the Griffins scored an early goal for the third straight period at 3:42 of the final frame, when Ilari Filppula stole the puck in the slot and quickly put the puck past Lack to cut Manitoba’s lead to 5-4.

Smith tied matters with a rocket from the point during a power play at 10:38, igniting the crowd of 6,397 and giving him a goal in three straight games. Jan Mursak earned the second assist on the play to extend his career-high point streak to seven games.

Manitoba would get the last laugh, though, on that fluky play with just 4:56 remaining.

The Griffins, who lost despite a 2-for-6 performance on the power play, got 16 saves from McCollum, while Lack made 29 stops for the win.

Three Stars: 1. MTB Hodgson (2 goals, assist); 2. GR Filppula (goal, 2 assists); 3. MTB Shirokov (2 goals)
 

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