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Feb. 26, 2016

– Three unanswered goals on Friday provided the Grand Rapids Griffins with a three-goal margin of victory and a three-game winning streak, as they tamed the Iowa Wild by a 4-1 count at Van Andel Arena.

Jared Coreau helped the Griffins (31-20-1-1) withstand an early onslaught of Iowa shots en route to making 35 saves and earning his 25th win of the season, a plateau reached by only six other goalies in the franchise’s 20-year history.

Grand Rapids, which improved its all-time records against Iowa to 17-3 overall and 8-2 at home, will once again play host to the Wild on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the middle game of its 3-in-3 weekend at Van Andel Arena.

The teams exchanged goals just 18 seconds apart early in the opening period. Defenseman Jakub Kindl scored his third goal in 10 games with the Griffins this season by potting Louis-Marc Aubry’s centering pass to finish off a 2-on-1 at the 3:20 mark, but the Wild (18-31-3-4) quickly answered when Tyler Graovac stood his ground in the slot to deflect Tyson Strachan’s slap shot from the right point past Coreau.

A slick pass by Anthony Mantha on the doorstep helped the Griffins take a 2-1 lead on a power play goal 4:05 before intermission. Standing at the right post with his back to the net, Mantha took a feed from Mark Zengerle and quickly slid a blind, backhand pass to the bottom of the left circle and Ryan Sproul, who slammed a one-timer into the top of Leland Irving’s cage.

Eric Tangradi extended the home team’s advantage to 3-1 midway through the second frame, working a give-and-go with Robbie Russo and popping the rookie’s return pass into a yawning net at 9:37. Then when Joakim Andersson put home a rebound against the frustrated Wild with 53 seconds remaining in the period, it sparked a brief melee during which Mitch Callahan and Xavier Ouellet were involved in separate altercations.  

The Griffins oversaw a scoreless third period to end the night on a 14-1 scoring run against their opposition, dating to the second period of their 5-2 win over Charlotte last Saturday.

Grand Rapids peppered Irving with 41 shots, 37 of which he turned aside.

Three Stars: 1. GR Coreau (W, 35 saves); 2. GR Sproul (power play goal); 3. GR Kindl (goal)