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GRIFFINS HIT HALFWAY MARK IN STYLE

Iowa Wild 1 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4

Jan. 11, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins stormed back from a 1-0 deficit through the first 26 minutes and rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Iowa Wild on Saturday at Van Andel Arena, splitting the teams’ two-game weekend set.
 
The Griffins dominated the shots category for the second straight night, finishing with a 34-18 advantage after Friday’s 43-26 showing, and wrapped up the first half of their regular season schedule with a 25-10-1-2 record. By comparison, last season’s Calder Cup championship squad was 22-12-2-2 at the turn, and only the team’s 2000-01 IHL edition (29-6-3) had more than the current unit’s 25 wins and 53 points through the first 38 games.
 
Adding to their laurels, the Griffins lead with Western Conference with 53 points, maintain a 10-point lead over Chicago in the Midwest Division race, and sit just one point back of AHL co-leaders Manchester and Springfield.
 
Grand Rapids, which still has lost consecutive games in regulation only once this season, will continue its six-game home stand by hosting the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
 
Potential frustration loomed for the Griffins in the opening period coming off last night’s 3-2 loss. Grand Rapids fired 13 fruitless shots on John Curry, while the Wild (15-15-2-2) connected on just their fourth and final try at the 18:49 mark, when Kyle Medvec ripped the puck over Tom McCollum’s glove from above the left circle.
 
Andrej Nestrasil broke the series’ combined 0-for-36 power play drought and the Griffins’ 0-for-18 skid against Iowa by tying the game with an unassisted goal 6:41 into the second. He picked up a wayward puck in the right circle, skated between the hashmarks and wristed a shot just inside the left post. 
 
The Griffins kept plugging away and finally seized the lead at seven minutes of the third, making it 2-1 on the scoreboard and 29-17 in shots. From the high slot, Xavier Ouellet teed up a rocket that Mitch Callahan tipped past Curry’s blocker. 
 
After earning an assist on the go-ahead tally, Tomas Jurco gave the Griffins breathing room 4:21 later, finishing off a 2-on-1 by potting Cory Emmerton’s pass at the left post. Brennan Evans then accounted for the 4-1 margin by scoring his career-high fourth goal of the campaign, banking a puck off the boards from deep in his own end that slid the length of the ice into an empty net with 54 seconds remaining.
 
McCollum faced light duty, having to make only 17 saves, but accomplished a weighty milestone. His 60th victory in a Griffins uniform made him just the third goalie to reach that plateau, joining eventual NHLers Joey MacDonald (109) and Jimmy Howard (90).
 
Three Stars: 1. GR Jurco (goal, assist); 2. GR Emmerton (assist); 3. GR Nestrasil (power play goal)

 
Griffins Game Rewind
GriffVision Video Highlights & Interviews
WOOD Radio Highlights: Nestrasil Goal Callahan Goal Jurco Goal Evans Goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

 



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