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ROAD WOES


TORONTO
– Despite scoring their franchise record 22nd shorthanded goal of the season, the Griffins also set a franchise record for power plays against as the Toronto Marlies were awarded 15 during the special teams battle and handed Grand Rapids a 5-3 loss Sunday evening at Ricoh Coliseum.

The Griffins losing streak is now stretched to six, although they have dueled past regulation to earn points in four of those games. After concluding a three-games-in-three-nights skid across the northern boarder Grand Rapids will return home Wednesday night to host the Milwaukee Admirals at 7 p.m.  

Grand Rapids claimed a 1-0 edge heading into the first intermission as Jon Insana blasted a shot from the right point that Eric Himelfarb tipped up under the crossbar with just 1:02 remaining in the period.

The Marlies came back during the middle frame and stole a 2-1 lead heading into the third. Karel Pilar tied the contest at 8:33 when he launched a rocket from six feet inside the blue line that Stefan Liv never saw, while Tyson Nash redirected a centering pass from Brad Leeb during a two-man advantage at 19:38.

Just 55 seconds into the final period the Griffins battled back and scored their record-setting, 22nd shorthanded goal of the season on a play where Evan McGrath dropped a pass to Ben Simon, who fired a shot off the left post and in from the right dot.

Toronto regained the lead at 4:08 when Brett Engelhardt was awarded a penalty shot and ripped a laser over Liv’s glove.

But with help from Chris Harrington, Grand Rapids evened the game less than one minute later on a fluke goal. Justin Pogge left his net to play the puck to Harrington, who attempted to send a pass up ice but instead hit Pogge in the back of the leg, redirecting the puck into his own goal at 4:54. Insana got credit for the goal.

The fluke seemed to build momentum for the Marlies as they scored two quick goals midway through the period. Colin Murphy crashed the net to backhand a rebound past Liv from Engelhardt’s shot during a power play at 9:14, before Erik Westrum sent a snapper into the near side of the cage from the right circle at 11:08.  

Liv made several acrobatic saves as he racked up 25 while Pogge managed 17 at the other end.


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