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THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Jamie Tardif


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins finished off a perfect home-opening weekend and earned their first-ever sweep of a three-in-three at Van Andel Arena with a 6-1 thrashing of the Abbotsford Heat on Sunday.

Captain Jamie Tardif notched his second AHL hat trick and Daniel Larsson made a career-high 41 saves to help the Griffins climb back to the 0.500 mark (4-4-0-0) and into a tie for fifth place in the North Division. They’ll continue their six-game homestand with a Thursday-Friday set against the Houston Aeros.

After converting 4-of-12 power play opportunities against the Heat in Friday’s home opener, the Griffins matched that production in 11 chances on this night, beginning with their first opportunity of the opening period. From above the right circle, Kris Newbury sent a pass across the zone to Jeremy Williams, whose one-timer from the left circle beat David Shantz at the 7:59 mark.

Grand Rapids scored three goals on deflections in the second period to blow the game open. Tardif set up in front of the Abbotsford net to tip Logan Pyett’s shot from the point at 7:13, and Doug Janik found Newbury on the backdoor during a power play at 16:06. Just 39 seconds later, Evan McGrath’s centering pass from the left side was tipped home by a crashing John Vigilante, sending Shantz to the showers in favor of Leland Irving.

In the third, Tardif notched his second goal from the hashmarks during a power play at 1:18, then scored during a 5-on-3 at 7:40 for a 6-0 Griffins lead and his first hat trick since March 3, 2007 at Syracuse.

Abbotsford finally broke through Larsson on its 33rd shot during a two-man advantage and delayed penalty, as Carsen Germyn scored on a cannon from the left circle with 5:32 remaining.

The Griffins, who entering this weekend hadn’t scored four power play goals in a game since March 14, 2006, accomplished the feat twice in a span of three nights. The Heat finished 1-for-6 with the advantage.

Shantz suffered the loss, surrendering four goals on 18 shots, while Irving stopped eight of 10 in relief.

Three Stars: 1. GR Tardif (hat trick, two PPG); 2. GR Larsson (41 saves, W); 3. GR Newbury (power play goal, two assists)
 

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