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GRAND OPENING

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins rode a 27-save effort by Joey MacDonald and two-point nights by Gustav Nyquist and Chris Conner to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Marlies on Friday night, in front of the Griffins’ 16th consecutive home-opening sellout at Van Andel Arena.

MacDonald extended his franchise mark with his 99th win as a Griffin and tied Jimmy Howard’s team record with his 186th appearance between the pipes.

Grand Rapids (1-1-0-0) will now embark on a season-high five-game road swing that begins on Sunday with a 6:05 p.m. start against the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena.

The Griffins had a great scoring chance on a rush just 14 seconds into the contest, when Nyquist found Logan Pyett all alone in the slot, but Toronto netminder Ben Scrivens flashed across his crease to deny Pyett’s redirection.

Instead it was the Marlies (1-1-0-0) who got on the board first at the 7:58 mark, as Toronto defenseman Matt Lashoff – the older brother of Griffins blueliner Brian – pinched and fired a shot from the left corner that deflected and fluttered past MacDonald.

Grand Rapids responded with its own goal less than a minute later, when a blast from the point by Trevor Parkes was tipped by Willie Coetzee just inside the right post at 8:51, giving Coetzee two goals in as many games this season. The Griffins then took a 2-1 lead just as time was about to expire in the opening period. Conner grabbed a dump-in behind the Toronto net and found Nyquist at the bottom of the left circle for a quick shot that trickled over the line with only 3.6 seconds showing on the clock.

After a scoreless middle frame, Doug Janik found the back of the net 15 seconds into the third to stake the Griffins to a two-goal lead. Conner sped down the right side before drilling a pass onto the stick of the trailing Janik, who ripped a shot past Scrivens from the top of the left circle.

Toronto, which out-shot Grand Rapids 13-5 in the final period and 29-27 for the game, narrowed its deficit to 3-2 with 22 seconds left on a wraparound goal by Joe Colborne after Scrivens had been pulled for an extra attacker. But the Griffins held firm the rest of the way to earn their first victory of the season, and the crowd of 10,834 celebrated Grand Rapids’ third win in its last four home openers.

Scrivens finished with 24 saves in the loss.

Three Stars: 1. GR Conner (two assists); 2. GR MacDonald (W, 27 saves); 3. GR Janik (game-winning goal)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews
WOOD Radio Highlights: Coetzee goal  Nyquist goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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