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Oklahoma City Barons 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4

Nov. 27, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – It was same score, different day for the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday at Van Andel Arena, as they followed up Friday’s 5-4 loss to the Oklahoma City Barons with an identical razor-thin setback to the AHL’s top team.

Despite enjoying a commanding 36-21 advantage in shots and three separate one-goal leads, the Griffins were unable to conclude their season-high five-game homestand on a high note, falling to 2-5-1-0 this season in games decided by a single goal.

Grand Rapids (7-11-1-0) will travel to Toronto for a 7 p.m. Tuesday tilt against the division-leading Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum, before returning home on Friday to host Toronto at 7 p.m.

The Griffins struck first during a power play 5:07 into the opening period. Gleason Fournier’s slap shot from above the left circle was turned aside by Yann Danis, but Tomas Tatar found the rebound just outside the crease and trickled a shot over the line. But the Barons (15-5-0-1) answered quickly during their own advantage at 7:15, as Tyler Pitlick sent a pass across the slot to Gilbert Brule for an open-net goal from the right side.

Grand Rapids reclaimed the lead at 2-1 with only 12.6 seconds remaining in the period. Tatar took the puck hard to the net and was denied, but a crashing Joakim Andersson put the rebound past Danis.

Oklahoma City once again tied the score seven minutes into the second period, as Dan Ringwald’s blast from the point was tipped past Jordan Pearce by Brule in the high slot.

A crazy sequence during the last six minutes of the period saw the Griffins take a 3-2 lead before falling behind 4-3 by the time the horn sounded. Getting the puck just inside the Oklahoma City line, Landon Ferraro immediately darted in alone on Danis and picked the top right corner with a beautiful shot from the left hashmarks at 15:14.

Former Griffin Ryan Keller helped set up his own tying goal just 38 seconds later, forcing a turnover deep in the Grand Rapids zone and finishing a give-and-go with Philippe Cornet with a deflection at the doorstep. The Barons then took their first lead with 1:36 left before intermission, when Ryan O’Marra’s sharp-angle shot from the left side changed direction upon hitting Bryan Rufenach and slipped between Pearce and the near post.

Unfazed, the Griffins responded to make it a 4-4 game 1:48 into the third, with Jamie Johnson one-timing Gustav Nyquist’s feed past Danis from the left circle.

A holding penalty on Tatar with 7:38 remaining gave the Barons a power play opportunity that they did not squander. Shortly after Pearce had dived back to his goal line to thwart an attempt by former Griffin Bryan Helmer, Brule found Pitlick for a backdoor goal and a 5-4 lead that would hold up the rest of the way.

Danis earned the win with 32 saves while Pearce made 16 stops in defeat.

Three Stars: 1. OKC Brule (two goals, assist); 2. GR Tatar (power play goal, two assists); 3. OKC Pitlick (game-winning goal, assist)

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