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GRIFFINS FALL TO MARLIES

Toronto Marlies 4 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2

April 6, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
– Three-point nights by Nicolas Deschamps and Marcel Mueller paced the North Division champion Toronto Marlies to a 4-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins grabbed the lead just 41 seconds into the game when Chris Minard and Jamie Johnson teamed up on a slick give-and-go, culminating in Minard’s 21st goal of the season from the top of the crease.

But Toronto answered with two goals of its own to seize the advantage before intermission. Nazem Kadri slid across the slot to beat Tom McCollum top-shelf at 4:30, and Ryan Hamilton jammed home a rebound during a power play at 10:11.

Philippe Dupuis pushed the Marlies’ lead to 3-1 just 51 ticks into the second period, before Tomas Tatar gathered a loose puck in the slot and quickly turned to whip it past Jussi Rynnas at the 5:39 mark to cut Grand Rapids’ deficit back to one. Toronto then had a chance to reassert its cushion with a penalty shot 10:58 into the frame, but Jerry D’Amigo’s backhand attempt bounced harmlessly off the right post.

After Deschamps made it a 4-2 game by beating McCollum with a shot from the right side that snuck inside the far corner at 7:33, the Griffins appeared to score a goal off a deflection by Francis Pare at 12:26. But after a considerable protest by the Toronto players and bench, the referees huddled and ruled that the puck was played with a high stick, negating the goal.

The Griffins could get no closer, despite pulling McCollum for an extra attacker with 1:32 remaining and finishing the game with a 6-on-3 advantage in skaters thanks to two late Toronto penalties.

Rynnas earned the win behind 33 saves, and McCollum made 23 saves in defeat while logging his ninth consecutive start.

Grand Rapids (32-29-6-4) will face the Marlies (42-23-4-3) once again in a 3 p.m. start on Saturday at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Three Stars: 1. TOR Deschamps (goal, two assists); 2. TOR Mueller (three assists); 3. GR Minard (goal)


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