Pulkkinen scores twice In Griffins’ 3-1 win

MILWAUKEE — Two-point performances by four Grand Rapids Griffins players helped them to a 3-1 win against Midwest Division rival Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday at BMO Harris Bradley Center and extended the Griffins’ lead over the division to six points.

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Image courtesy of Grand Rapids

Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice to make him the Griffins’ first 30-goal scorer since Jeremy Williams (32) in 2009-10. Ryan Sproul notched the game-winning goal and an assist, while Nathan Paetsch and Mitch Callahan contributed two assists each.

Backed by Petr Mrazek’s 26 saves, Grand Rapids (43-20-2-4) closed out a ten-game regular season series with the Admirals (32-22-6-7), only falling three times. The Griffins will return home for another Midwest Division clash, a 7 p.m. EDT matchup with the Iowa Wild on Wednesday.

The Griffins caught a lucky break eight minutes into the game when a quick whistle on a frozen play disallowed a Milwaukee goal as the puck squeaked underneath Mrazek into the net.

Leading scorer Pulkkinen put Grand Rapids on the board at 7:24 with the Griffins’ sixth power play goal in the weekend’s three-in-three. The Griffins kept the puck in the Admirals’ zone for the first minute and a half of the power play until Paetsch’s shot from the top of the right circle rebounded to Pulkkinen at the back doorstep for the goal.

Callahan nearly doubled the lead with a shorthanded two-on-one five minutes into the third period, but his effort banged off the pipes before being cleared out of the zone.

Despite the Griffins dominating the shot column, the game evened at one goal apiece 9:21 into the third frame. Filip Forsberg one-timed a rocket from the blue line and the puck hit off bodies in front of the net and redirected past Mrazek.

Paetsch fed a pass to Sproul from point-to-point, and Sproul wound up, found an open lane and let a shot rip past Marek Mazanec at 16:28.

The Admirals pulled Mazanec, who finished with 33 saves in the loss, for the extra skater in the final minute of the game. After Pulkkinen and Callahan each missed an open net, Callahan chased the puck behind the net and found Pulkkinen in front for the simple tap-in.

Three Stars: 1. GR Pulkkinen (two goals); 2. MIL Forsberg (goal); 3. GR Sproul (game-winning goal, assist)

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