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Griffins Stave Off Elimination With 5-2 Win
Pulkkinen notches a pair to lead Grand Rapids over the Marlies...
By Jason Kasiorek
April 29th, 2015

The Griffins may have been on the ropes, but bounced back to hand the Toronto Marlies a loss an extend their first round series to game four with a 5-2 victory. Teemu Pulkkinen added a pair of tallies, while Andy Miele and Andreas Athanasiou each added a goal. Newcomer Tyler Bertuzzi scored his first of the postseason midway through the third which stood up as the game winner. The game had a very physical undertone which threatened to boil over several times as the Marlies seemed eager to punish the Griffins physically if they couldn't on the scoreboard. Thomas McCollum picked up his first career postseason victory, stopping 25 of 27 shots he faced.

Evans smoked Bodie in the corner, leading to some pushing and shoving. Bodie at the edge of the paint in traffic was able to get a stick on a rebound and put it past McCollum for an early lead. Grand Rapids got it right back. Bertuzzi made a heads up play at the line to get the puck to Miele who took it to the net. Miele looked like he was going behind the net, then made a slick move and snuck it through short side. Nylander had a breakaway on McCollum, but got stoned. Athanasiou with a steal and a wide open net, but had the puck roll away. Mantha followed up with another good chance. Marlies used their time out to rest players stuck out on an icing. Mantha rolled a shot right through the crease. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Tor 9.

Grand Rapids caught a break when Brennan broke a stick in front of a wide open net. Giveaway and Hoggan had a great chance then got taken down and a big scrum broke out. Granberg put Miele's head into the glass with an elbow setting up a Griffins power play. Athanasiou electrifying with the man advantage. Nosek made a great pass from the side of the net through traffic to Athanasiou in the slot and he picked a corner for a power play marker. Sproul 2-on-1 and a big shot but just missed. Pulkkinen in the high slot couldn't get a shot off through the sticks and bodies. A Marlies shot hit McCollum and lay in the crease for a long time before Ouellett cleared it.

McCollum came way out to play the puck, lost his stick and gave the puck away too. Toronto trying to turn it up a notch and the Griffins scrambling to keep pace. Pulkkinen racing for a loose puck in the corner hit Brennan from behind leaving GR shorthanded. Porter picked off a pass and had a great shorthanded chance on Gibson who left his create and collided with Hirschfeld. Nosek cross checked Nylander leading to a 5-on-3. Porter picked off a puck at the line and had another good shorthanded chance.

Pulkkinen shorthanded breakaway and pulled down from behind. A penalty shot was awarded, but Gibson just pinched it under his arm. Lots of scrumming after the whistles. Several Marlies went after Miele, drawing a meeting of the clan. Athanasiou had a nifty scoring chance and then had his head driven into the boards by Granlund. Martha dropped the gloves and went right over to light him up before the officials intervened. Close in chance for Nosek who just couldn't put it in. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Tor 6.

The Marlies took a too many men on the ice penalty early in the third but the Griffins couldn't capitalize. Bertuzzi in traffic in front of the net notches his first of the playoffs with some quick hands battling in front. Less than a minute later Pulkkinen got sprung behind the D and buried it for a 4-1 lead. Ouellet was baited into a bad penalty for a Marlies powerplay. Lashoff with a great clear. Gibson to the bench for a Toronto 6-on-4. Mikkelson's knuckleball from the point trickled through McCollum. Pulkkinen went off for high sticking, and Gibson again was summoned to the bench for another 6-on-4. The net remained empty even after the penalty expired as Toronto was pressing for a goal. Pulkkinen fired a long shot the length of the ice and into the empty net for his fifth of the playoffs and a 5-2 lead. Gibson to the bench again with possession. McCollum made a huge stop. Brennan broke another stick on a backdoor chance. Athanasiou just missed the empty net. Pulkkinen trying for the empty net got roughed up and Hoggan went over to answer. In the last minute of play Brennan went over and goaded Hoggan to drop the gloves. Hoggan started throwing punches, but Brennan turtled and tried to play innocent with the officials. Shots on goal: GR 6 - Tor 12 . For the game: GR 30 - Tor 27.

Porter - Athanasiou - Mantha
#39 Bertuzzi - Miele - Zengerle
Pulkkinen - Nosek - Tvrdon
Hoggan - Aubry - Hirschfeld

Sproul - Evans
Lashoff - Jensen
Paetsch - Ouellet

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Coreau

Callahan - ACL - Out for season
Nastasiuk - Concussion

Hoggan - Miele - Zengerle
Paetsch - Pulkkinen

Tvrdon - Nosek - Athanasiou
Sproul - Ouellet

Nosek - Hirschfeld
Paetsch - Ouellet

Athanasiou - Porter
Lashoff - Jensen


Kevin Porter and Andreas Athanasiou were money on the penalty kill. Porter especially really stood out with aggressive PK, stealing the puck several times for great scoring chances.

Jeff Hoggan was a beast all over the ice, playing physical, grinding in the corners, winning battles all over the ice and even sticking up for his teammates. he was the number one star in my book.

Brennan Evans was back to his surly self tonight and had a lot of the Marlies looking over their shoulders.

I also have to give a shout out to Louis-Marc Aubry who was hard to play against all night.

Bertuzzi played a good game and was very involved and energetic. He could have had a couple of goals with a little more puck luck.

It was nice to see Sproul shooting the puck more. he was credited with three, but had several big blasts blocked (hobbling Toronto defenders).

Official Game Sheet