Marlies get even in series with Griffins, win 4-2

TORONTO – The Toronto Marlies rebounded from a forgettable 7-0 loss in Game 1 on Friday with a 4-2 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum, tying the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinals at one game apiece. 

Former Griffin Drew MacIntyre earned First Star honors by making 30 saves, while Greg Scott paced the opportunistic Marlies with two goals, including an empty-netter with 1:19 remaining that sealed the home team’s win. 

After earning a split in Toronto and stealing home-ice advantage, the Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena to host the next three games in the series on Wednesday, May 15, Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18. Tickets for all three games are available now through 3106__calder_cup_playoffs-primary-2013

The Griffins controlled the action for much of a scoreless first period, playing physically, outshooting the Marlies 11-6 and not yielding a shot until the game was eight minutes old.

 On the heels of being pulled and allowing six goals last night, MacIntyre showed off his chops a few minutes into the second period, denying a point-blank redirection by Teemu Pulkkinen and subsequent hacks by several Griffins during a wild scramble in his crease.

 Pulkinnen, though, would play a part in the Griffins seizing the lead at the 8:36 mark. After Pulkkinen’s try from the slot off a feed from Tomas Jurco was stopped by MacIntyre, Jurco rushed in to pop the loose puck into the right corner.

 Having built a 21-6 advantage in shots to that point, Grand Rapids finally yielded a goal for the first time in 152:35 when Ryan Lasch slid his own rebound beneath Petr Mrazek during a power play at 10:30. For Mrazek personally, it marked his first goal allowed in five seconds shy of three full games (179:55).

 Toronto grabbed its first lead of the series with a shorthanded goal less than five minutes later. Mike Zigomanis stripped Pulkkinen of the puck in the neutral zone and quickly got it ahead to Scott, who worked around his defender and swooped in before putting a shot past Mrazek’s glove at 15:02.

 Landon Ferraro, whose seven shorthanded points during the regular season led the AHL, scored an undermanned tally of his own just 1:41 later to knot the score at 2-2. Knocking the puck away from Paul Ranger at the point, Ferraro chased it down just inside the Marlies’ blue line, walked in alone and found the top right corner with a wrister from the slot.

 A tripping penalty to Ferraro in the dying seconds of the period gave the Marlies 1:53 of power play time and a fresh sheet of ice to begin the third. Grand Rapids killed off that power play but still ceded Toronto’s go-ahead goal 2:36 into the period, when Will Acton drove toward the net and roofed Jerry D’Amigo’s feed from the doorstep.

 Mrazek, who finished with 27 saves, went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker with 1:33 remaining, and it took only 14 seconds for Scott to notch the insurance goal.

The Griffins, who went 0-for-5 on the power play and killed off all but one of Toronto’s five tries, finished the game with only a 32-31 margin in shots after building the huge early advantage.

Notes: An already strong Grand Rapids lineup was further bolstered today by the addition of Brian Lashoff on assignment from the Detroit Red Wings. The defenseman had appeared in just one game for the Griffins since the start of the NHL’s abbreviated season on Jan. 19, playing 31 regular season contests and three playoff games for the parent club…The Griffins suffered their first loss in five all-time playoff games at Ricoh Coliseum…Grand Rapids won four of its previous seven best-of-seven series that were tied 1-1.

 Three Stars: 1. TOR MacIntyre (W, 30 saves); 2. OR Zigomanis (three assists); 3. TOR Scott (two goals)

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