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MR. ROBINSON LEADS GRIFFINS TO 5-4 WIN

ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland – After losing their first road game Tuesday night, the Grand Rapids Griffins (16-6-1-0) rebounded with a 5-4 win over the St. John’s Maple Leafs (15-9-0-1) on Wednesday night at Mile One Stadium. The win propels the Griffins into sole possession of first place in the West Division.

A goal and two assists from Todd Robinson extended his point streak to six games, the longest on the team this season. During the streak, he has amassed eight points (3-5—8).

After falling behind 2-0 on goals by Brad Leeb and Nathan Perrott within the game’s first four minutes, Grand Rapids answered with two goals of its own.

The first coming on a three-on-two rush up the ice. Ernie Hartlieb dropped a pass for Niklas Kronwall who promptly tucked a shot inside the right goal post at 7:07 of the opening period. The assist for Hartlieb marks his first as a Griffin.

Eric Manlow, who also assisted on the Griffins’ first goal, tallied the second goal for Grand Rapids. Todd Jackson ripped a shot from the right circle which was deflected. Manlow corralled the loose disc and backhanded it into St. John’s net to even the score at 14:39 of the second period.

With two Griffins in the penalty box early in the third period, Blake Sloan intercepted a pass and raced toward the Maple Leafs net. He managed to score despite a two-man disadvantage, giving Grand Rapids a 3-2 lead at 1:50 of the third period.

Leeb quickly responded with a power play tally at 2:39 of the third period to knot the score at 3-3. He completed the hat trick two-and-a-half minutes later capping a scramble in front of the Griffins’ net. Drew MacIntyre made several saves, but was unable to stop Leeb’s shot.

Todd Robinson, who assisted on Manlow’s goal earlier, tied the score at four when he popped in the rebound of Eric Himelfarb’s shot at 11:28 of the final frame.

Himelfarb would net the winning goal with just under 90 seconds remaining from Danny Groulx and Todd Robinson. Groulx made several nice plays to keep the puck in the offensive zone. Groulx fired a blast on Mikael Tellqvist, the netminder was up to the task, but was unable to stop Himelfarb’s rebound shot.

St. John’s had an apparent equalizing goal with 8.5 seconds remaining in regulation, but referee Steve Kozari blew the play dead before the puck crossed the line.

MacIntyre finished with 25 saves for the win while Tellqvist stopped 30 shots in a losing effort.

The Griffins road trip continues with a division match-up against the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks on Friday at 7:10 p.m.

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