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Griffins victorious in final tune-up

by Kyle Kujawa / Detroit Red Wings
The three goal outburst in the third period helps the Griffins defeat the Monsters in Ann Arbor on Sunday night. (Photo by John VanderHaagen/Michael Corn)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins completed their preseason schedule on Sunday with a 4-2 win over the Lake Erie Monsters at the University of Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena, avenging Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Monsters in Toledo.

The Griffins secured the win by scoring three times in the third period, with Jordan Pearce claiming the victory behind 27 saves.

A scoreless opening period was marked by periodic rough play from both sides. Seven minutes in, Lake Erie’s Patrick Bordeleau slammed Trevor Parkes into the boards from behind, sparking a scrum that eventually saw Gleason Fournier join Bordeleau in the penalty box.

Later in the period, after Triston Grant sent the Monsters’ Mitchell Heard flying with a hard check inside the Grand Rapids line, Grant quickly took down Ben Wilson in a fight in front of the Griffins’ bench.

Grand Rapids’ Chad Billins scored the game’s first goal and gave the Griffins their first lead of the preseason during a power play at 7:57 of the second, collecting an errant clearing pass in the high slot and whipping a shot past Calvin Pickard for an unassisted tally.

The Griffins nearly made it 2-0 with 4:40 left in the frame. During a flurry around the Monsters’ net, goalie Kent Patterson lost track of a loose puck that sat tantalizingly behind him in the crease, but Karl Stollery pulled down Louis-Marc Aubry before he could get his stick on it. It proved to be a wise move by the Lake Erie defenseman, as the Griffins did not capitalize on the ensuing power play.

After beginning the second period with two minutes of power play time, the Griffins started the third with a 1:21 advantage, but again they couldn’t put it to use. That failure proved costly at the 2:25 mark, when a crashing Tyson Barrie put a juicy rebound past Pearce from the slot to make it 1-1. That marked the Monsters’ first goal in a span of 90:33 over two nights, after Lake Erie had scored three goals in 10:47 early in Saturday’s contest.

Parkes, though, put Grand Rapids ahead 2-1 by scoring on all fours from just outside the paint, as he redirected Fournier’s centering pass from the left side at 10:20. At 15:12, Willie Coetzee sniped a shot into the top corner from the right circle that was confirmed as a goal after a short officials’ huddle.

Lake Erie’s Paul Carey slammed home a rebound to make it 3-2 with 1:28 left, but with the Griffins shorthanded and the Monsters’ net empty in the final minute, Brendan Smith’s shot went the length of the ice and across the goal line with five seconds left for the final margin.

The Griffins, who completed their first preseason slate since 2005 with a 1-1 record, will open their 17th regular season this weekend at Van Andel Arena, hosting the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. and the Hamilton Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tom McCollum, Brian Lashoff, Jeff Hoggan and Brennan Evans were the Griffins’ scratches…The game marked a Yost homecoming for Griffins forward Luke Glendening, whose four-year career at Michigan concluded last season with his second season in the captain’s “C”…A night after the Griffins were the home team in a game played in the Monsters’ home state, Grand Rapids was the visiting team at Yost.

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