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GRIFFINS KEEP ROLLIN' AGAINST RIVERMEN

Peoria Rivermen 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4

Feb. 20, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.Jamie Tardif notched his second two-goal game in five days and Jordan Pearce made 36 saves to lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-2 win over the Peoria Rivermen on Sunday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins, who recorded points in all four games this week (2-0-0-2) to improve to 3-1-0-3 in their last seven games, beat rookie goaltending sensation Jake Allen for the second straight time and snapped a six-game losing streak to the Rivermen on home ice.

With the victory, Grand Rapids moved to within six points of third-place Hamilton in the race for a guaranteed playoff berth. Next up for the Griffins will be the Lake Erie Monsters in a 7 p.m. start this Friday at Van Andel Arena.

Peoria tallied the fastest goal to start a Griffins game this season just 39 seconds into the contest, as Nick Drazenovic set up shop in the slot and popped a shot over Pearce.

Grand Rapids evened the score during a power play at the 9:57 mark, when Tomas Tatar sent a pass from the right side across to Tardif, who slammed the puck past Allen at the left post.

The Griffins’ inability to clear their zone during a penalty kill proved costly at 16:16, as Ian Cole connected on a slap shot from above the right circle to give the Rivermen a 2-1 lead at intermission.

Two unanswered goals during the second period put the Griffins ahead entering the final 20 minutes. Tardif notched his second of the afternoon on a patented wraparound at 6:57, before a crashing Brendan Smith potted a rebound at the 11:14 mark.

The Griffins accounted for the final 4-2 margin at 11:41 of the third period. Jan Mursak fired a cannon from the right circle that Allen appeared to have stopped, but as the netminder began to look around for the puck, Chris Minard sped in to knock it across the goal line.

By duplicating his two-goal performance from Wednesday’s 5-3 win over Hamilton, Tardif increased his career-high and team-leading goal total to 21. With 72 goals for his Griffins career, he has tied Darryl Bootland for fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list and moved within one of third-place Derek King and three of second-place Kip Miller.

Allen finished with 33 saves for the Rivermen, who dropped their third game in a row.

Notes: Pearce became the first Griffins goalie since Jimmy Howard to start both three games in three nights (April 3-5, 2009) and four games in five nights (April 11-15, 2007), while becoming the first rookie to ever accomplish the latter…Derek Meech appeared in his 283rd game as a Griffin, moving past Matt Ellis into sole possession of sixth place on the franchise’s all-time list.

Three Stars: 1. GR Tardif (two goals); 2. GR Tatar (two assists); 3. PEO Drazenovic (goal, assist)
 

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