12/28/2011 7:02 PM
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Lake Erie Monsters 6 OT
Dec. 28, 2011
CLEVELAND – The Grand Rapids Griffins fought their way out of a four-goal deficit to claim a point at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night but, ultimately dropped a 6-5 decision to the Lake Erie Monsters in overtime.
Brent Raedeke led the way for Grand Rapids with two goals and an assist, while Hugh Jessiman dialed up a hat trick for Lake Erie. Cedrick Desjardins went the distance for the Monsters, stopping 39 of 44 shots to earn the win. Joey MacDonald was pulled in favor of Jordan Pearce after allowing three goals on 12 shots. Pearce saved 10 of 13 shots in 48 minutes of work.
The game got off to a quick-fire start as Grand Rapids (12-13-3-2) would have claimed the opening goal of the contest inside the first two minutes but for a goaltender interference call on Brendan Smith. Instead of gaining an early lead, Jessiman scored a pair of goals two minutes and 10 seconds apart to give Lake Erie (14-15-1-1) a leg up.
At 2:56, Cameron Gaunce's pass was tipped by Brophey to Jessiman, who tapped home at the left post. Brophey set up Jessiman again at 5:06; the Monsters' goal-scoring leader beat MacDonald with a shot from the bottom of the right circle for his 14th of the campaign. Lake Erie did not let off as David Liffiton added a second power play goal at 11:30, which brought an end to MacDonald's night.
The Monsters were no more welcoming to Pearce. At 14:31 Brophey led a shorthanded charge that occupied the attention of two Griffins defenders. He left the puck for a trailing Justin Mercier, whose sixth strike of the season put Grand Rapids in a 4-0 hole.
The Griffins got on track at 6:24 of the second stanza with a shorthanded goal of their own. Streaking away down the right wing, Raedeke slipped a pass to Jamie Johnson, who waited for Desjardins to go down before lifting his shot into the empty net for his team-leading 14th goal of the year.
Grand Rapids' fight back received more fuel at 8:47. Skating in his first game since breaking his ankle while playing for the Detroit Red Wings in a preseason game on Sept. 25, Jan Mursak dropped a pass to Logan Pyett, who rang a shot off Desjardins' right post to register his first goal this season.
Jessiman momentarily derailed the Griffins' comeback when he completed his hat trick at 16:46. However, just over a minute later, Raedeke brought Grand Rapids back within two at 5-3 when he deflected a Garnet Exelby blast into the cage.
At the 2:14 mark of the final frame, Raedeke continued to reel in the Monsters' lead. His fifth of the season came off a feed from Willie Coetzee and pulled the Griffins to within a single goal. Grand Rapids completed the comeback late in the third when Exelby knocked home a loose puck after a scramble in front of the Monsters' net with only 20 seconds remaining.
Despite outshooting Lake Erie 34-8 over the final two periods, Grand Rapids did not get the chance to put a shot on goal in overtime, as Tyson Barrie ended matters 35 seconds in with a low wrist shot from the right circle that sneaked past Pearce.
Notes: Two Griffins achieved appearance milestones in this evening's game – MacDonald played in his 200th game as a Griffin and 400th as a pro, while Johnson skated in his 600th professional contest.
Three Stars: 1. LE Barrie (game-winning goal, two assists); 2. LE Jessiman (three goals); 3. LE Brophey (four assists).
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