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MOOSE BREAK BOUNCES GRIFFINS, 4-2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Grand Rapids penalty in the final minutes and a subsequent fluky bounce off the glass helped the Manitoba Moose break out of a five-game skid with a 4-2 win over the Griffins on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.

With the score tied 2-2 and Ryan Barnes in the box on a holding penalty incurred with 2:19 left, a Tomas Mojzis dump-in took an odd bounce off a corner stanchion and caromed high into the left circle to Josh Green, who teed-up a shot that screamed past Joey MacDonald with just 1:18 remaining.

Lee Goren added an empty-netter at 19:27 to send the Griffins (29-28-2-1) to their third straight loss and keep them six points behind fourth-place Houston, following the Aeros’ 3-1 loss at Chicago. Grand Rapids and Manitoba (35-17-2-6) will stage a rematch at Van Andel Arena on Friday.

Matt Ellis gave the Griffins an early first-period lead off an assist from Blake Sloan. After a Manitoba turnover, Ellis crashed the net along the right goal line and had several whacks at the puck before finally driving it past Alex Auld at 4:28. For the hard-working Ellis, the goal gave him points in 11 of the last 16 games (6-8—14).

Despite outshooting the Moose by a 16-7 margin during the period, the Griffins could not carry their lead into intermission. With just 33 seconds left in the frame, a Kent Huskins shot from the point found its way through traffic and escaped MacDonald.

Grand Rapids re-gained the lead during a power play 5:26 into the second period, breaking a 0-for-28 drought with the man advantage. From low in the right circle, Kip Miller sent a pass into the crease that deflected off a Moose defenseman and slipped behind Auld. However, Huskins again tied the game at the 10:57 mark, rocketing a shot from the left circle over MacDonald’s glove and into the right corner of the cage.

The Griffins, who managed only three shots during the third period, were unable to capitalize on a 32-26 advantage for the game, as MacDonald’s 22 saves were answered by Auld’s 30 stops.

The win was just the second for the Moose in nine visits to Grand Rapids over the last four seasons and broke their five-game winless streak at Van Andel Arena.

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