11/29/2011 8:04 PM
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 at Toronto Marlies 3 OT
Nov. 29, 2011
TORONTO, Ontario – A stellar team effort helped the Grand Rapids Griffins hand the North Division-leading Toronto Marlies a 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday evening at Ricoh Coliseum.
Grand Rapids (8-11-1-0) ended the Marlies’ six-game winning streak when Landon Ferraro struck with 49 seconds remaining in overtime for the game winner. Tom McCollum earned the win on the back of 37 saves, while Mark Owuya made 34 stops for a Marlies team which will have a chance at revenge when they face off against the Griffins on Friday at 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins’ special teams came through on both the penalty kill and power play midway through the opening period to give Grand Rapids the initial advantage. First, a Marlies odd-man advantage was denied before the Griffins capitalized on their first power play when Brendan Smith tallied his first of the year at 8:14. A saucer pass from Jamie Johnson set up Smith, who drilled a one-time bullet from the right point past Owuya to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead.
Late in the period, the Marlies drew even when Kelsey Wilson poked the puck into open ice for an on-rushing Nazem Kadri, who used Brent Raedeke as a screen as he whistled a shot over McCollum’s left shoulder at 18:15.
In the second, Grand Rapids’ penalty kill continued to excel, killing off three penalties, including a 49-second five-on-three. Raedeke then made amends at 7:36 to put the Griffins in front a second time. Logan Pyett’s long pass found him streaking up the right wing and, as he cut in on goal, he snapped a shot top-shelf for his second of the year.
Toronto fired back at 16:25 to even the game at two. Kadri crashed the net hard and was able to force a loose puck beneath McCollum’s pads. At 18:23, Tomas Tatar took Gustav Nyquist’s pass into the Marlies zone at top speed and unleashed a blistering shot from the left dot that found the top right corner of the cage.
Tatar’s fifth goal of the season gave Grand Rapids a 3-2 edge entering the final frame, but Toronto answered the bell once again. While on the power play, Marlies captain Ryan Hamilton banked the puck off McCollum’s back at 2:25 after corralling a long blast that had hung up behind the net.
The Griffins had two power play opportunities in the final three minutes of regulation but could not beat Owuya, who continued to thwart Grand Rapids deep into the overtime period. He was at last beaten when unable to hold a 40-foot Garnet Exelby blast. The ensuing rebound fell to Ferraro, who slapped the puck home from a sharp angle for his fourth goal of the season.
Notes: The win improved Grand Rapids to 6-2 this season against North Division opponents…Exelby sat down for his 1,200th penalty minute as a pro for an interference call in the first period…Joakim Andersson skated in his 100th game as a Griffin.
Three Stars: 1. TOR Kadri (two goals); 2. GR Nyquist (two assists); 3. GR Ferraro (OT goal)
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