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ROLLING ON THE RIVERMEN


PEORIA, Ill. – A stellar special teams performance coupled with Jimmy Howard’s 41 saves in net keyed the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 4-2 victory over the Peoria Rivermen Friday at Carver Arena.

The six-game season series between Grand Rapids (24-29-2-5) and Peoria (29-22-4-4) is now complete, with the Griffins posting a 2-3-0-1 mark in those games.

A pair of power play goals carried the Griffins to a 2-0 edge in the first period. Just 10 seconds into the first Grand Rapids advantage of the evening, Ryan Oulahen crashed the net and from the right doorstep cleaned up the rebound off Darren McCarty’s shot at 13:41. With a 5-on-3 situation minutes later, Carl Corazzini converted a one-timer on a terrific feed from Mark Cullen with 18.9 seconds showing on the clock to push the Griffins’ lead to 2-0.

The second period provided more rock-solid special teams work from the visitors as Grand Rapids killed three overlapping penalties that gave Peoria an uninterrupted 4:15 with at least a one-man advantage. Within that timeframe, the Griffins found themselves two men down for a total of 1:45, but yielded no goals.

The Rivermen finally broke through later in the middle frame, drawing the count to 2-1 on an even strength tally at 17:20. Trent Whitfield gained control of the puck behind the Grand Rapids net and found Julian Talbot charging up the middle of the Griffins zone. Howard’s fabulous save at point blank range on Talbot’s initial shot went for naught as the rebound bounced directly back to Talbot, who went upstairs to light the lamp.

At 5:12 of the third, the Griffins reclaimed a two-goal lead after the Rivermen turned the puck over in their own territory. Randall Gelech corralled the disc and fed Kyle Quincey, who zipped a shot from the high slot into the upper left corner of the cage. Peoria would inject drama into the game’s final minutes with a power play goal at 15:32 as Whitfield snuck a shot from the left point inside the goal post. Down the stretch, however, the Griffins defense locked down and Cullen’s shorthanded empty-netter iced matters with 5.8 seconds remaining.

The Griffins return to Van Andel Arena Sunday to face the Lake Erie Monsters at 4 p.m. Festivities include Mascot Mania, an O’Charley’s Post-Game Open Skate and the inaugural “Reading Day with the Griffins” featuring children’s author Brad Herzog. In addition, a limited edition poster commemorating Darren McCarty’s tenure as a Grand Rapids Griffin will be given away to the first 1,500 fans through the turnstiles courtesy of Delta Imports. Doors open one hour before the game.

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2
Official Game Report

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