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NOT IN THE STARS



DES MOINES, Iowa – Several bad bounces and breaks went against the Grand Rapids Griffins Sunday evening, and that luck continued into a fruitless shootout in a 4-3 loss to the Iowa Stars in the tie-breaking session at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Stars quickly captured the momentum off a faceoff win in the Griffins zone, as Yan Stastny slapped a one-time blast past Jimmy Howard to give Iowa a 1-0 lead early in the first period.

Darryl Bootland provided the equalizer 12 minutes into the frame, finishing a crisp pass from the left circle by Tomas Kopecky to earn his 12th goal of the season.

Howard was then victimized by a horrifying and unnatural bounce off the back boards, as David Oliver caught the Griffins backstop sprawled on the ice on an easy follow-up shot to retake the lead at 2-1 heading into the intermission.

Kent McDonell battled through a crowd in front of the net on a Griffins power play in the second to punch home a rebound from a Donald MacLean shot and tie the score at two. MacLean’s assist extended his point streak to 11, second-best on the team only to a 14-game run by Jiri Hudler to start the season.

Iowa wrested the lead back in the third on another shot off a faceoff win, as Dan Jancevski feathered a wrister that deflected off the stick of Toby Petersen past a screened Howard at 3:39 to make it 3-2.

Battling back from the effects of a concussion, Kyle Quincey scored a goal for the first time since December 28th to help the Griffins tie the game for the third time in the game. Quincey tipped a Bryan Helmer blast on a 4-on-4 at 10:46. In the shootout, Stars goaltender turned aside all four Griffins shooters, while Vojtech Polak and Jamie Johnson clinched the win.

The Griffins head into the all-star break with a 33-12-1-3 record, having won 15 of their last 19 games to forge a six-point lead over the Manitoba Moose in the North Division. Grand Rapids will resume play Friday night in Milwaukee.

Donald MacLean will represent Team Canada in the 2006 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Winnipeg, while Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula will dress for the PlanetUSA squad. Live cablecast of the CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition can be seen on Comcast Local Tuesday night at 7 p.m., and a next-day showing of the AHL All-Star game will be presented Thursday night at 7 p.m. on the same network.


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