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GRIFFINS HUFF, PUFF AND BLOW PAST ICEHOGS

Rockford IceHogs 4 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 SO

Dec. 14, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Landon Ferraro’s goal in the seventh round of the shootout lifted Grand Rapids to a 5-4 win over the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena, extending the Griffins’ home-ice winning streak to three games.

After Rockford’s Brandon Pirri and Grand Rapids’ Brendan Smith both scored in round two, nine consecutive shooters were denied before Ferraro scored to keep the Griffins one point behind Lake Erie in the North Division race.

The Griffins, who earned points for the sixth time in their last seven contests (4-1-0-2) after playing past regulation for the fifth time during that span, will now travel to Cleveland for a Friday-Saturday set against the third-place Monsters. Game time each night is 7:30 p.m.

Scoring was abundant during the opening period considering the lack of shots, as the teams scored two goals apiece on a combined 18 attempts. Willie Coetzee tallied first just 67 seconds in, slicing down the slot to deflect Adam Estoclet’s try from the right boards.

Rockford (10-13-1-2) scored the next two to take a short-lived lead. Off a faceoff deep in the Griffins’ zone, Andrew Shaw whipped a shot behind Joey MacDonald from the right side at the four-minute mark, and Joe Lavin followed soon after with his first professional goal from below the right circle, somehow sneaking the puck between MacDonald and the post at 8:20.

The IceHogs failed to convert during 1:31 of a 5-on-3 power play later in the period, a missed opportunity that proved costly when the Griffins (11-12-1-2) evened matters at 2-2 only nine seconds after the second penalty expired. Taking a pass from Tomas Tatar at the Rockford line, Francis Pare darted to the right dot before ripping a wrist shot past the blocker of a screened Carter Hutton with 5:02 remaining in the frame.

A quiet second period yielded to a third stanza in which the scoring pace and pattern resumed. Coetzee’s fine individual effort gave the Griffins a 3-2 lead at 1:43, as he grabbed an errant pass at the blue line, maneuvered around a defender in the slot and beat Hutton for his first two-goal game as a Griffin.

Once again the IceHogs would respond with consecutive goals, only to see Grand Rapids forge another tie. Following a tremendous, sprawling save by MacDonald, Shaw potted his second of the night at 3:19. Rockford then made it 4-3 when Brandon Segal tipped Shawn Lalonde’s long-range blast into the top of the cage at 5:47, but Trevor Parkes charged in from the left goal line to stuff home the tying marker with 8:43 remaining in regulation, forcing overtime with his first AHL goal.

MacDonald finished with 29 saves and denied six of seven in the shootout, while Hutton stopped 24 during play along with five shootout attempts.

Note: Pare’s goal marked the 154th point of his Griffins career, tying him with Jamie Tardif for sixth place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.

Three Stars: 1. RFD Lavin (goal, two assists); 2. GR Coetzee (two goals); 3. RFD Shaw (two goals)
 

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