GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 at Abbotsford Heat 3
Jan. 6, 2012
ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – On a night that saw numerous players add fresh ink to the club's record books, the Grand Rapids Griffins earned perhaps the most important as a team with their first-ever win at the Abbotsford Sports & Entertainment Centre in a 4-3 victory over the Abbotsford Heat on Friday.
Grand Rapids (14-13-4-2), which had failed to secure points in its previous four outings in Western Canada, moved above the .500 mark for the first time this season and into a third-place tie on 34 points with the Lake Erie Monsters in the North Division standings.
Francis Pare and Brian Lashoff paced the Griffins' offense with a goal and an assist each. Tomas Tatar and Landon Ferraro also scored for a Grand Rapids team which will take on the Heat again tomorrow at 10 p.m. EST.
Jon Rheault potted two goals for Abbotsford (22-10-2-0), and former Griffin Krys Kolanos continued to play his hot hand against his former employers, notching three assists.
Joey MacDonald stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced to earn the win, while Joni Ortio made 20 saves in relief of Danny Taylor, who was pulled at 12:05 of the first after allowing two goals on only eight shots.
With the game's opening strike at 8:53 of the first period, Tatar joined only 15 other Griffins skaters who have recorded 50 goals for the club. Doug Janik sent the Grand Rapids winger free down the right side and, although Taylor stopped the initial shot, Tatar was able to backhand the rebound home from a sharp angle for his 10th tally this season.
Pare was next to make his mark in Grand Rapids' record books as his sixth tally of the season at 12:05 gave him sole possession of sixth place on the Griffins' all-time goals leaderboard, breaking a tie with Matt Ellis. Garnet Exelby drove the puck off the end boards as the fourth-year Griffin outraced two Heat defensemen to sweep home his 70th career goal for Grand Rapids.
The Heat made it 2-1 at 3:37 to begin a back-and-forth second period. Rheault rifled a shot over MacDonald's right shoulder from the bottom of the right face-off circle after Kolanos set him up with a clever pass from behind the cage.
Two minutes and 23 seconds later, Lashoff restored the Griffins two-goal lead as he struck in back-to-back games for the first time in his pro career. With Grand Rapids on its first power play of the night, Ortio let out a rebound from Logan Pyett's blast and Lashoff was on hand in the slot to stab the loose puck into the net for his fourth goal of the year.
Greg Nemisz brought Abbotsford within a goal once again at 13:10 on a play that was a carbon copy of the Heat's first goal. Kolanos slipped the puck through Pyett's skates from behind the net to Nemisz, who whipped a shot home from just inside the left circle.
A pretty passing play resulted in Ferraro's fourth of the season and a 4-2 lead for the Griffins before the second stanza came to a close. Brent Raedeke began the move from the left point with a nifty pass to Willie Coetzee, who picked out the hard-charging Ferraro. The Griffins rookie left Ortio no chance as he lit the lamp at 17:22.
The Heat made the closing minutes tense when Rheault snagged his second at 17:31 of the final frame, but his 13th goal of the year was all the Heat could muster against a determined Grand Rapids outfit.
Three Stars: 1. GR Pare (goal, assist); 2. GR Ferraro (game-winning goal): 3. ABB Kolanos (three assists).