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SWEEPING THE STARS


DES MOINES, Iowa
– The Grand Rapids Griffins won their fourth in a row and completed a weekend sweep of the Iowa Stars at Wells Fargo Arena Saturday night in 5-3 fashion. Matt Hussey had two goals, extending his team-high point streak to seven games while Head Coach Greg Ireland earned his 96th win to place second on the Griffins’ all-time wins list.

Grand Rapids will return home next Friday at 7 p.m. to host the San Antonio Rampage in the first of a back-to-back set at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins got off to an early start, scoring just 2:24 into the contest when Matt Ellis tipped the puck between the legs of the net minder from the slot during a power play after Jeff Campbell pulled the trigger from the right point. 

The Stars notched the equalizer on a favorable Iowa bounce at 8:20 to enter the first intermission deadlocked at one goal apiece. Matt Nickerson through a back-hand shot towards the net that deflected of Francis Wathier’s shin pad past Jimmy Howard.

The Iowa offense put heavy pressure on the Griffins defense and recorded two tallies in the early minutes of the middle frame. Vojtech Polak scored off a rebound at 2:32 before Dan Hacker set up Marius Holtet at the hash marks from behind the net to blast the puck into the goal at 4:49.

But Hussey scored two goals of his own to bring the Griffins back and tie the game at three. First, Hussey jammed home a loose puck from the right side of the cage at 5:20 after Derek Meech sped into the zone and launched the initial shot.

Kip Miller set up Hussey for his second goal at 7:48 with a pass from the right boards to the high slot where Hussey ripped a shot over the shoulder of Dan Ellis.

Grand Rapids regained the lead at the 5:00 mark of the final period when Eric Himelfarb flew into the zone on the left wing and fed the puck to Darryl Bootland alongside in the rush for a one-timer.

Shortly after, the Griffins earned a two-goal advantage while Hussey recorded his third point of the game, dropping a pass to Ryan Oulahen at the top of the circles for a wrist shot that found the back of the net at 8:49.

Iowa pulled their goalie in the final minutes, but failed to score as the Griffins triumphed with a 5-3 final. Howard gave another stellar performance in the crease with 32 saves and Ellis had 20 for the Stars.


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