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Grand Rapids Griffins crush Abbotsford Heat 7-2 to take 2-0 series lead

Sunday, 04.27.2014 / 12:55 AM The Canadian Press

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Andrej Nestrasil's three-point night helped the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 7-2 win over the Abbotsford Heat on Saturday, giving them a stranglehold in their American Hockey League playoff series.

The third-year pro scored his first two career AHL playoff goals and added an assist late in the blowout victory.

The Griffins now head back home in hopes of a sweep in their best-of-five series after taking both games at the Abbotsford Centre. The Griffins won 2-1 on Friday in double overtime.

Ryan Sproul, the Game 1 overtime hero, and Teemu Pulkkinen each had a goal and two assists. Trevor Parkes, Cody Emmerton and Jeff Hoggan also scored for the visitors, whose parent club Detroit was eliminated from the NHL playoffs and is expected to send some bodies back to the farm for Game 3 on Wednesday.

Petr Mrazek had to stop just 15 shots, compared to his 55-save performance the night before.

Max Reinhart had a goal and an assist for Abbotsford, which may have played its final home game after it was announced last week that the franchise will not be back in the city next season.

Emile Poirier had the other goal, while Joni Ortio stopped 25-of-30 shots before being pulled. Doug Carr mopped up, making 14 saves.

Abbotsford opened the scoring at the 7:40 mark of the first. Reinhart stepped into a shot in the high slot. Mrazek kicked it right to Poirier, who quickly brought the puck to his forehand and snapped it blocker side for his first professional playoff goal.

However, the visitors tied the game not long after. Mattias Janmark drove hard to the net and centred for Parkes, who chipped it by Ortio for his first AHL playoff goal at 10:13.

The Heat regained the lead with a power-play goal at 15:32. Reinhart tried to centre for Ben Hanowski but it ricocheted off the skate of Brennan Evans.

Just 35 seconds later the Griffins again drew even when Sproul's one-timer from the point was deflected by Nestrasil.

Grand Rapids scored a short-handed goal late in the first to take their first lead. Emmerton made a move around one defender, then fought off another and chipped the puck past Ortio while falling to his backside, giving Detroit's 2006 second-round selection his first AHL playoff goal in five years.

Hoggan doubled the lead two minutes into the second period. The Griffins' captain took a cross-ice feed from Pulkkinen and fired a wrist shot over the glove of Ortio, giving him 14 career AHL playoff goals.

Nestrasil chased Ortio at 11:19 of the second, snapping a shot short side from a bad angle.

Sproul scored a power-play goal at 6:45 of the third and Pulkkinen added another on the power play at 12:09.

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