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LATE SURGE SWAMPS ADMIRALS

Engelhardt scores the game-winning goal.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Three unanswered goals in the third period and another solid performance by Jimmy Howard enabled the Grand Rapids Griffins to rally for a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

Playing their fourth straight game without the services of either Mark Hartigan (recalled to Detroit) or the injured Mark Cullen – both of whom came into the night tied for the team scoring lead – the Griffins got a pair of goals from Jamie Tardif and 25 saves by Howard to improve to 7-2-1-1 in their last 11 home games.

The Griffins (14-16-2-3) will close out 2007 on Monday by hosting their 11th annual New Year’s Eve Bash. Game time against the Hamilton Bulldogs is 7 p.m.

Grand Rapids took advantage of a fortunate bounce to jump on top just 27 seconds into the game. A dump-in from Tom Galvin took an odd carom off the end boards and slid out front to Tardif, who tapped the puck inside the right post for a belated Christmas gift.

But the visitors would take a 2-1 lead to the locker room, as former Griffin Josh Langfeld threw a loose puck past Howard from the right circle at 10:04 and Cody Franson sailed a shot from the left point into the top of the cage during a power play at 12:54.  

Following an uneventful middle frame, Grand Rapids netted the equalizer 2:31 into the third period, breaking a 0-for-31 drought on the power play. Carl Corazzini snapped his six-game pointless streak – four games longer than his previous season high – by converting a Jon Insana rebound through a scrum from the left of the net.

Just 2:01 later, the Griffins went ahead 3-2 thanks to Brett Engelhardt, who slipped a rebound of Jonathan Ericsson’s long-range blast past Maxime Daigneault from the slot for his fifth goal in the last eight contests.

With the Admirals having pulled their netminder for an extra attacker with 91 seconds remaining, Tardif potted his second goal of the night into an empty net from center ice at the 19:07 mark.

Daigneault finished with 26 saves for Milwaukee, which lost its fourth consecutive game in regulation to fall to 17-13-1-1.


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