DETROIT, MI. — In the first-ever outdoor game in franchise history, the Grand Rapids Griffins fell to the Toronto Marlies 4-3 on Monday in a thrilling shootout in front of 20,337 at Comerica Park.
Luke Glendening scored two goals in the historic matchup on his way to securing a point for the defending Calder Cup champions. The loss marks the second time that Grand Rapids (22-7-1-2) has fallen to Toronto (17-10-2-1) this season, previously dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Marlies on Oct. 5. The Griffins have lost three of the last four games and, until tonight, held a 17-0-0-1 recor
d when leading after the second period.
The Griffins, who still maintain a nine-point lead over Milwaukee in the Midwest Division, will host a rematch with Toronto tomorrow at 6 p.m. in their 17th annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Van Andel Arena.
Toronto defenseman Kevin Marshall tallied the opening goal a mere 1:10 into the first period, when he lobbed the puck toward the home net. McCollum, who lost track of the shot, allowed the puck to slip past his right side to give the Marlies a 1-0 lead.
Kenny Ryan was called on a two-minute charging infraction at 5:36, providing Grand Rapids with the first power play of the game. However, the extra man was squandered just 57 seconds later, when Adam Almquist was sent off for interference. During four-on-four play, a hard push to the Marlies net resulted in goaltender Drew MacIntyre giving up a Riley Sheahan rebound. A sliding Xavier Ouellet collected the loose puck and put it home at 7:20 to tie the game at one apiece.
Late in the first period, Carter Ashton pushed the Marlies to a 2-1 advantage at 18:00, when he collected a puck played by McCollum and put it between his back and the post from the bottom of the left circle.
In the latter half of the second period, Glendening came alive and scored two goals to give the Griffins a 3-2 advantage by the end of the frame. At 11:22, he threw the puck at the net from the goal line and it deflected off of MacIntyre’s skate and across the line. At 16:18, Glendening stepped out of the penalty box, collected a pass from Brennan Evans and walked into the Toronto zone alone, hammering the puck past MacIntyre.
Just 2:22 into the third period, Ryan jammed the puck into the Griffins crease, and it trickled past McCollum and a diving Evans to knot the game at 3-3. The goal would be the only mark of the third period.
After a scoreless overtime, the Griffins and Marlies headed to a shootout. Spencer Abbot and Greg McKegg connected for the Marlies, while the Griffins were unable to solve MacIntyre in four tries, ensuring the victory for Toronto.
MacIntyre stopped 24 of 27 shots, while McCollum shut down 21 of 24 beneath the Detroit skyline.Notes: Tonight’s game marked the seventh outdoor game in AHL history, the second outdoor game for the Toronto Marlies and the first-ever outdoor game for the Griffins. The crowd of 20,337 is the largest home crowd in Griffins history and the fifth-largest crowd overall, exceeded only by four late-‘90s IHL games against the Detroit Vipers at the Palace of Auburn Hills…The game began with a temperature of 22 degrees and finished at a chilling 17.