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Lake Erie Monsters 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3

Sept. 28, 2013

PLYMOUTH, Mich. – Behind Tom McCollum’s sturdy shootout performance, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Lake Erie Monsters 3-2 Saturday at Compuware Sports Arena.

Lake Erie opened the scoring late in the first period, despite a distinct shot advantage (15-7) for Grand Rapids. With 18:11 remaining in the first 20 minutes of the game, Andrej Nestrasil provided Lake Erie with a power play opportunity after being called for hooking. The Monsters capitalized on their one-man advantage when defenseman Gabriel Beaupre fired a shot from the blue line that wound its way through traffic and past McCollum's glove.

The Monsters carried their 1-0 lead into the second period until exactly five minutes in when Griffins center David McIntyre fed a low pass to Martin Frk, who quickly buried the puck past Monsters netminder Kieran Millan. With 9:09 remaining in the second and the score tied at one, Lake Erie shifted gears between the pipes when they swapped Millan with goaltender Kent Patterson.

Marek Tvrdon gave the Griffins their first preseason lead at 3:51 of the third period, wristing the puck top-shelf in the right corner, unassisted.

Later in the period, defenseman Brennan Evans’ elbow found its way to the face of a Lake Erie defender just outside of the play. Monsters left wing Vincent Arseneau responded by rushing to center ice where the two exchanged a flurry of fists. The scrum resulted in shared fighting penalties, with Evans receiving an added five-minute major and game misconduct for interference.

Just over a minute into their power play, Lake Erie center Mitchell Heard identified a break between McCollum and the post, feeding the puck into the back of the net at 15:59. The second powerplay goal for Lake Erie tied the game at two-a-piece, and it remained knotted for the remainder of the third.

Following a scoreless overtime, the Griffins triumphed over the Monsters 3-2 in a sudden death shootout. Frk blew open the door on scoring for Grand Rapids in the fifth round after four failed scoring attempts by Gleason Fournier, Tvrdon, McIntyre and Nestrasil. Lake Erie had one final opportunity to prolong the game as Heard rifled the puck towards the net, but McCollum remained steadfast as he blocked the closing chance.

McCollum earned the victory with 36 saves, stopping all five of the Monsters' shootout attempts. Lake Erie’s Millan and Patterson both prevented 18 of 19 shots between their split time in the net.

Grand Rapids will close out their preseason play when they take on Lake Erie tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario. The Griffins open their 18th regular season on the road against the Rochester Americans on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7:05 p.m., followed by another road game against the Toronto Marlies on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 3 p.m.

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