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10/28/2011 8:02 PM -

Abbotsford Heat 5 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1

Oct. 28, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A hat trick by former Griffin Krys Kolanos sparked the Abbotsford Heat to a 5-1 victory over Grand Rapids on Friday at Van Andel Arena.

The Halloween-themed game featured a ghastly 118 minutes in penalties, four game misconducts and a rare goalie fight, as well as a 0-for-8 power play effort by Grand Rapids, which has dropped consecutive games for the first time this season.

The Griffins (3-5-0-0) will look to get back on track on Saturday, when they visit the Milwaukee Admirals for an 8 p.m. EDT start at the Bradley Center.

Grand Rapids, which suffered consecutive shutouts at the hand of Abbotsford netminder Leland Irving back in April, needed only 53 seconds to solve him in this contest. Off a Heat scoring chance on the other end, Gustav Nyquist skated the puck up the right side and into the Abbotsford zone. At the circle he attempted a centering pass for Joakim Andersson that instead caromed off the skate of a defender right to the stick of Chris Conner, who ripped a shot into the top left corner from the slot. The tally marked Conner’s team-high fourth goal and 10th point of the young season.

Another ex-Griffin, defenseman Clay Wilson, evened things up for Abbotsford during a power play with just 1:07 remaining in the frame, blasting a one-timer from the top of the circles through a crowd and past Joey MacDonald

Kolanos gave the Heat their first lead of the night 1:05 into the middle period. Playing his first game in nearly 21 months after missing the entire 2010-11 campaign due to injury, he fanned on an attempt from the left side, but the puck bounced off a Griffins defenseman and eluded MacDonald’s grasp.

Penalty trouble, including a double-minor for high-sticking to Garnet Exelby at the 8:12 mark, gave the Heat four minutes of power play time. The Griffins’ shorthanded unit killed off 41 seconds of a 4-on-3, 56 seconds of a 5-on-3 and 1:49 of the remaining 5-on-4 before Kolanos struck again, putting a shot through MacDonald’s five-hole from the bottom of the left circle at 11:38 to make it a 3-1 game.

The frustrations of a physical game boiled over with 3:42 left in the second. Several fights broke out after a scrum in the Griffins’ crease, culminating in a brawl between MacDonald and Irving, who skated the length of the ice to drop the gloves. Both netminders were given an early shower – along with Exelby and Abbotsford’s John Armstrong – forcing backup goalies Jordan Pearce and Joni Ortio into action. Soon after, Jon Rheault beat Pearce for the Heat’s fourth unanswered goal at the 18:58 mark, giving the visitors a three-goal lead heading into the second intermission.

Kolanos completed his hat trick and rounded out the scoring 13:55 into the third, beating Pearce from the left circle for the Heat’s third power play goal in seven chances on the night.

Abbotsford (5-3-0-0), the only team on the Griffins’ schedule that Grand Rapids did not defeat last season (0-3-0-1), earned its seventh straight victory in the series. The Heat have not fallen to the Griffins in more than two years, since losing consecutive visits to Van Andel Arena on Oct. 23 and 25, 2009.

Irving and MacDonald finished as the goalies of record, stopping 12 of 13 and 19 of 22, respectively. Ortio denied all 10 shots he faced in relief, while Pearce turned aside nine of 11.

Notes: The goalie fight was just the second involving a Griffin since at least the start of the 2000-01 season. Jimmy Howard and Michael Leighton squared off in Rochester on April 9, 2006, during the first period of a 6-4 Amerks victory…Curt Fraser was denied in his second attempt to become the winningest head coach in Griffins history. He remains tied with Danton Cole at 116 victories.
Three Stars: 1. ABB Kolanos (hat trick); 2. ABB Ben Walter (three assists); 3. ABB Rheault (goal, assist)

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