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BOOTLAND LIFTS GRIFFINS TO 3-2 OT WIN

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Darryl Bootland’s goal 24 seconds into overtime lifted the Grand Rapids Griffins (29-25-2-1) to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Wolves (35-19-5-2) on Saturday night at the Allstate Arena. The Griffins have earned points in their last five outings.

Bootland first rang a shot off the crossbar in the opening seconds of the extra session. Matt Ellis thwarted the Wolves clearing attempt at the blueline. Ellis quickly shot on Michael Garnett from the high slot. Garnett left the rebound for a charging Bootland who promptly lifted a shot over the Wolves goaltender for the game-winning goal.

The Griffins recorded the game’s first two goals within the first seven minutes of action.

Ernie Hartlieb swatted the rebound of Blake Sloan’s shot out of the air past Garnett 80 seconds into the opening period. Jiri Hudler fed Sloan with a pass through the neutral zone. Sloan raced into the Wolves zone and fired a shot from the right wing boards. Hartlieb crashed the net and batted the rebound into the net for his second tally in a Grand Rapids uniform.

At the 6:37 mark the Griffins opened a 2-0 lead with a shorthanded goal by Mark Eaton. Kip Miller and Ellis busted into the Wolves zone on a two-on-one breakaway. Miller dropped a pass just inside the blueline to a charging Eaton who walked down the slot and wristed a shot over Garnett’s shoulder. The assist for Ellis gives him at least one point in 10 of the last 13 games and the last five contests. Miller’s assist is his 100th in the AHL and gives him seven points in the last five tilts.

The Wolves answered with two power play goals later in the first period. The Griffins have allowed a power play goal in their last 12 games, surpassing their previous franchise record of nine games.

Griffin killer J.P. Vigier fired a shot from 35 feet over netminder Joey MacDonald at 9:19 for Chicago’s first goal.

Joe Corvo knotted the score at 2-2 with a rocket from just inside the blueline. Vigier and Tommi Santala assisted on the equalizing goal.

Both MacDonald and Garnett finished the game with 24 saves.

Grand Rapids will play its second of three games in three nights in three cities tomorrow against the Milwaukee Admirals at 3 p.m.

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