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FANTASTIC FINNISH

Dec. 22, 2010 – Toronto Marlies 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.Ilari Filppula notched his second goal of the third period with just 2:54 left to lift the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.

After the Marlies had scored twice in a span of 2:41 to knot the score late in regulation, Filppula ripped a shot past Ben Scrivens from the right faceoff dot less than a minute later to give Grand Rapids its fourth win in its last six home games.

The Griffins (14-14-1-4), who moved into a tie with Lake Erie for fifth place in the North Division, will enjoy three days off for Christmas before hosting the Monsters on Sunday at 4 p.m. Grand Rapids also sits just three points behind second-place Toronto and Abbotsford in the division race.

The teams swapped goals in the first period, with Jamie Tardif burying a Jakub Kindl pass from the left side during a power play at the 6:12 mark. The assist marked the 75th of Kindl’s Griffins career, tying him for ninth on the franchise’s all-time list with Tomas Kopecky and Ed Patterson. He added a second helper on Filppula’s game-winner to give him sole possession of ninth place in club annals.

Justin Hodgman answered for the Marlies at 12:28, taking control of the puck along the right boards and darting toward the net before lifting a backhand past Joey MacDonald’s blocker. The netminder gained a measure of redemption with 2:22 left in the period, though, making a nice glove save to deny a penalty shot attempt by Christian Hanson.

Grand Rapids again jumped on top 1:05 into the second frame. Joakim Andersson blasted a shot past Scrivens from the right hashmarks off a feed from Brendan Smith, putting the Griffins ahead 2-1.

Filppula increased the home team’s advantage to two midway through the third, winning a one-on-one battle with his defender and slipping a shot past Scrivens from the right circle at the 9:07 mark. But a nifty play by Toronto’s Darryl Boyce made it a 3-2 contest, as he sped down the slot, took a pass off his skate and put the puck off the far post and in with 6:28 remaining.

The Griffins called a timeout just after another potential Marlies goal was waived off, but Toronto (16-13-0-4) still netted the equalizer at 16:13. Danny Richmond threw a puck on net from the left corner that bounced off a scrum and landed behind MacDonald, with Jay Rosehill getting credit for the goal.

However, Filppula ensured that the throng of 8,385 would go home happy by scoring his team-leading 12th goal of the season, and the Griffins withstood a final push by Toronto to secure the win.

MacDonald made 22 saves to earn his third win in his last four appearances, while Scrivens stopped 28 in the loss.

Notes: This game marked the first time ever that brothers Brian Lashoff of the Griffins and Matt Lashoff of the Marlies played against each other in organized competition. Brian is three years and nine months younger than Matt…Kindl returned to the Detroit Red Wings after the game, concluding his two-week conditioning stint with five points (1-4—5) in eight games…The robust holiday crowd was the Griffins’ largest since opening night (Oct. 8) and marked their largest Wednesday night attendance in nearly four years (8,449 on March 28, 2007, a 3-2 SOW over Milwaukee).

Three Stars: 1. GR Filppula (two goals); 2. GR Tomas Tatar (three assists); 3. TOR Boyce (goal, assist)
 

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