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KNIGHTMARE ON FULTON STREET

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Warren Peters’ power play goal with just three seconds remaining completed a dramatic comeback Saturday for the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, who rallied from three one-goal deficits to spoil the Grand Rapids Griffins’ home opener in 4-3 fashion.

Awarded a power play with 10 seconds left in a 3-3 game, Omaha (2-0-1-0) quickly pushed the puck up the right side after winning a faceoff at its blue line. Peters got a step on a Griffins defender, and David Van der Gulik fed the streaking centerman for a stick-side redirection past Stefan Liv, stunning the capacity crowd of 10,834.

Before their 11th straight opening-night sellout, the Griffins took the early lead on their second shift of the game. Applying pressure on the forecheck, Matt Hussey stole the puck in the high slot, split two Knights defenders and popped a soft shot over Brent Krahn from point-blank range at the 1:50 mark.

Omaha tied matters later in the period, seconds after a Grand Rapids power play had gone by the wayside. Cam Cunning threaded a pass through the crease to Justin Taylor, who tapped the puck inside the left post at 16:46.                                                  

Valtteri Filppula, assigned to the Griffins on Friday, gave the home team a 2-1 advantage 2:24 into the middle frame. From the end boards, Krys Kolanos dished the puck out to a darting Filppula, who beat Krahn cleanly from the slot. The cushion lasted less than five minutes, however, as Kris Chucko followed up his deflected centering pass by collecting the loose puck below the right circle and lifting a shot over Liv at 7:07.

Josh Langfeld answered at 11:12 with his first goal at Van Andel Arena since March 23, 2003. With the Griffins in the Knights’ zone during a power play, Kip Miller received a pass in the right corner and quickly sent a laser through the crease to a wide-open Langfeld, who easily tallied his second goal of the season. Liv then preserved the 3-2 lead for intermission with a pair of spectacular stops, including a diving save on Andrei Taratukhin moments after Langfeld’s goal.

With time winding down in the third, the Knights set up their last-second heroics on Cunning’s rocket from the point off a right-circle faceoff with 5:12 remaining. Liv finished with 25 saves, while Krahn countered with 18 stops.

After suffering their first regulation loss of the season, the Griffins (2-1-1-0) will continue their eight-game home stand next Friday, Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. against Houston.


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