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MOOSE ROAM IN GRIFFINS' HOME

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Manitoba Moose served notice that they aren’t yet willing to cede the North Division to Grand Rapids, breaking the Griffins’ nine-game point streak with a 5-3 win on Tuesday at Van Andel Arena.

League-leading Grand Rapids (37-13-1-3) entered the night with a 10-point cushion over the second-place Moose (32-16-3-3), but Manitoba built a trio of two-goal leads to earn its first win in four tries against the Griffins this season. In the process, the Moose became the second team since Dec. 10 – a span of 15 home games – and just the fourth all season to escape Van Andel Arena with a regulation win.

Manitoba capitalized off a turnover deep in the Griffins’ end to take the lead on the game’s first shot, with Jason King solving Joey MacDonald from the slot at 1:48. The Moose made it a 2-0 game by burning Grand Rapids’ top-ranked power play at the 7:19 mark. Mike Brown chased down the puck along the right boards, swooped in on MacDonald and beat him with a shot along the ice for his Manitoba-record fifth shorthanded goal of the season.

The Griffins began to carry the play and finally got on the board 8:28 into the second period, when Nate DiCasmirro flipped a backhand between Wade Flaherty and the right post for his third goal in the last two games. Donald MacLean earned the second assist to extend his point streak to 16 games, one shy of Derek King’s five-year-old team record. Grand Rapids then tied it off a faceoff in the Moose zone with 2:59 left in the frame, as Eric Manlow turned and whipped a shot past Flaherty from the right circle. For the period, the Griffins enjoyed a 16-2 advantage in shots, giving them a 24-9 margin through 40 minutes.

Early in the third, just two seconds after a Manitoba goal had been disallowed, King notched his second of the night off the ensuing faceoff at 1:42. A defensive breakdown then allowed the Moose to score their fourth goal at 4:25, on only their 13th shot. From the right boards, Lee Goren found Ryan Bayda streaking all alone down the slot, and Bayda put a fake on MacDonald before scoring on his forehand to give the visitors a 4-2 lead.

Jiri Hudler made things interesting with 1:37 remaining, scoring on a blast from the top of the right circle to make it 4-3, but Goren scored into an empty net 16 seconds later to seal Manitoba’s win. MacDonald made 13 saves while seeing his bid for a team record-tying eighth straight win fall by the wayside, and Flaherty finished with 28 stops for the victory.

After concluding their four-game homestand with a 3-1 mark, the Griffins will hit the road for a Thursday night matchup against the Cleveland Barons. Game time at Quicken Loans Arena is set for 7:05 p.m.


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