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ON A ROLL

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Toronto Marlies 1

Feb. 25, 2012

TORONTO, Ontario –
Two of the Western Conference’s top offenses battled at Ricoh Coliseum on Saturday evening, but it was defense that made the difference for the Grand Rapids Griffins, who extended their winning streak to three games with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Marlies.

The Griffins (23-21-5-4) are now a perfect 4-0 against the North Division-leading Marlies, while Ty Conklin improved to 3-0 on the season and earned first-star honors with a 25-save effort over a Toronto team that had lost just five times in regulation on home ice this season. Grand Rapids is now 14-4-1-1 against its own division, winning all three games against division rivals this week.

Toronto (30-19-4-2) jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Grand Rapids just 1:04 into the opening frame. Brendan Smith carried the puck over the blueline and saw his breakout pass bank off a skate and back into the Griffins’ zone. The Marlies’ Nazem Kadri collected the loose puck and flipped a backhander over Conklin to open the scoring.

The Griffins controlled the play for much of the first period as they looked for the equalizer, outshooting the Marlies 17-7. Just when it looked like the home team would enter the first intermission with the lead, Chris Conner centered a pass to Francis Pare, who rifled a one-timer past Ben Scrivens with seven seconds left on the clock. The goal was Pare’s ninth of the season and 73rd as a Griffin, tying Derek King for fourth-place in franchise history.

After a scoreless second period, Grand Rapids was presented with an excellent opportunity to take the lead after Toronto’s Colton Orr was whistled for cross-checking and roughing at the 3:07 mark. A tripping call to Greg Scott gave the Griffins a full two-minute five-on-three, but they were unable to crack the Marlies’ AHL-best penalty kill.

Fabian Brunnstrom gave the Griffins the lead at 12:17 of the final frame. Brunnstrom collected a pass from Doug Janik and skated past a Toronto defender, beating Scrivens with a high shot over the glove from a sharp angle to make it 2-1.

With the extra attacker on the ice for Toronto, the Griffins dodged a bullet when it appeared the Marlies evened the game at two. Referee Tim Mayer negated the call when he ruled that the puck had been batted in with a high stick, and Grand Rapids was able to hold on for the 2-1 victory.

The Griffins will head back to Grand Rapids for back-to-back home games against Rochester on Friday and Oklahoma City on Saturday.

Three Stars: 1. GR Conklin (W, 25 saves); 2. TOR Scrivens (38 saves); 3. GR Pare (goal)

Griffins Game Rewind
AHLLive Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights:  Pare Goal   Brunnstrom GWG
Official Game Report

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