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PURPLE DOES NOT REIGN

Peoria Rivermen 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1

Feb. 18, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Griffins’ first-ever Purple Game on Saturday left Grand Rapids feeling blue, as the Peoria Rivermen never trailed en route to a 3-1 win at Van Andel Arena.

With the Griffins clad in purple jerseys and the crowd of 9,235 resplendent in their purple t-shirts, the goal of raising awareness and funds for Van Andel Institute’s cancer research was achieved. But Grand Rapids’ aspirations to climb higher in the Western Conference standings were not, as the Griffins instead fell to 1-3-1-0 in their last five and below 0.500 on the season at 20-21-5-4.

The scoreboard showed zeroes until nearly the midpoint of the second period, when Peoria struck for the first of its two goals during the frame. After a defensive breakdown left sniper Brett Sterling all alone at the top of the crease to receive the puck, he passed to Derek Nesbitt and took a quick return feed before popping a shot into a caping cage at 9:13.

Anthony Peluso added to the visitors’ lead with 2:12 remaining, spinning in the slot to scoop a backhand that glanced off Tom McCollum’s arm and trickled across the line.

Gustav Nyquist put the Griffins on the board 6:51 into the third when his brilliant shot from the left circle found the far top corner of Jake Allen’s net, but Phil McRae answered for the Rivermen just 30 seconds later to re-establish their two-goal cushion at 3-1 and deflate Grand Rapids’ comeback hopes. The Griffins went on to out-shoot Peoria by a hefty 15-6 margin during the third, but Allen was up to the challenge in backstopping the Rivermen (28-22-2-1) to their fourth win in five tries.

McCollum made 26 stops but suffered his fifth straight loss, while Allen made 31 saves to improve to 5-11-1 on the campaign.

Referee Jeff Smith did not raise his arm the entire night, resulting in just the second penalty-free game in Griffins history. The other occurrence came on March 21, 2009 in Grand Rapids’ 3-2 home win over Toronto, which Smith also refereed.

The Griffins will continue their three-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the Hamilton Bulldogs at 7 p.m.

Three Stars: 1. PEO McRae (goal, assist); 2. PEO Allen (W, 31 saves); 3. GR Nyquist (goal)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews
WOOD Radio Highlights:  Nyquist Goal  Peoria Third Goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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