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ELLIS TURNS TRICK, GRIFFINS TURN TIDE


WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Matt Ellis notched his first postseason hat trick and Jimmy Howard turned in another stellar performance with 29 saves to pace the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-1 win over the Manitoba Moose in Game 2 of the North Division Semifinals on Saturday at the MTS Centre.

Having tied the best-of-seven series at one game apiece and wrestled home-ice advantage away from the Moose, the Griffins will host the next three games at Van Andel Arena, where they won 15 of their final 20 games during the regular season. Game 3 will take place on Monday at 7 p.m.

The Griffins netted their first goal of the playoffs to take the lead just 5:14 into the contest. Brad Norton unleashed a long-range rocket from the right boards that Drew MacIntyre stopped, but an unchecked Ellis collected the rebound on his forehand and slipped the puck into the cage.

Minutes later, the Griffins were awarded a five-minute power play after Prestin Ryan high-sticked Eric Himelfarb, and they quickly capitalized with a 4-on-3 goal. Jakub Kindl fired a shot from the high slot that MacIntyre again turned aside, only to see a crashing Ellis deposit his second of the period from the left side at 7:27. The goal broke Grand Rapids’ 0-for-37 power play drought against the Moose that stretched back to their second regular season meeting on Nov. 4.

Darryl Bootland pushed the visitors’ advantage to three at 11:42, blasting a slap shot stick-side from above the circles after his teammates had fought to keep the puck in the Moose zone. Manitoba, which had been out-shot 11-1 to that point, called timeout and soon responded, scoring a 5-on-3 goal with 2:35 left in the period. With the Griffins’ penalty killing trio unable to get off for a change, Brad Moran redirected Jason Jaffray's errant shot past Howard from the right side.

Following a scoreless second period, Howard kept it a two-goal margin with a brilliant glove save on Yannick Tremblay’s point-blank deflection five minutes into the final frame. He helped the Griffins kill off four Moose power plays during the period, and Ellis scored from the blue line into an empty net with one minute remaining to seal it.

MacIntyre suffered the loss on 23 saves, while his teammates managed just one power play goal on nine chances. The Griffins capitalized on one of three opportunities on the night.

Game Summary



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