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GRIFFINS SQUEAK BY DUCKS, 3-2

CINCINNATI, Ohio – Winning close games has become a hallmark of the Grand Rapids Griffins (17-6-1-0). The Griffins got goals from three different scorers, two assists from Niklas Kronwall and 36 saves from Joey MacDonald to defeat the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (8-15-0-2) by a 3-2 score Friday night at Cincinnati Gardens. Grand Rapids has won all four meetings between the two teams this season.

The Griffins will return home to host the Chicago Wolves at 8 p.m. NASCAR Rookie of the Year Kasey Kahne will sign autographs in the banquet room prior to faceoff.

Grand Rapids got on the board first with a power play marker by Eric Manlow with just over two minutes remaining in the opening period. Todd Robinson assisted on the goal to extend his point streak to a team-high seven games. Manlow assumes the team lead with nine goals on the season. Robinson slid a pass across the crease allowing Manlow to tap the puck into an open net.

The Griffins opened a 2-0 lead when Ernie Hartlieb jammed the rebound of his own shot past Frederic Cassivi at 3:52 of the second period for his initial tally as a Griffin.

Darryl Bootland stretched the lead to 3-0 when he drove to the net and slid a low backhand past Cassivi at 5:35 of the second period. The goal chased Cassivi from the crease after making 13 saves, giving way to former Griffin Mathieu Chouinard who also turned aside 13 shots for the Ducks.

The Ducks broke the shutout with a power play tally at 16:12 of the second period when former Ferris State standout Chris Kunitz deflected Kurtis Foster’s blast from 50 feet. Kunitz played his first game since breaking his jaw early in the season and fourth of the season.

With a two-man advantage and their goalie pulled for a six-on-three skating advantage, the Ducks pulled within one goal when Kunitz unleashed a rocket with 16 seconds remaining in the regulation.

The Griffins held on for the remaining 16 seconds for their seventh consecutive one-goal win. Grand Rapids has an AHL-best 13 one-goal wins.


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