Griffins' 3-2 OT Win Prolongs Division Suspense
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Eric Tangradi snapped a shot over Tom McCollum's glove from the top of the circles 1:33 into overtime on Friday to give the Griffins a 3-2 victory over the Charlotte Checkers at Van Andel Arena, keeping Grand Rapids' hopes for a Central Division title alive heading into the final day of the AHL's regular season.
With 98 points, the second-place Griffins (46-23-1-5) sit just a single point behind first-place Chicago, which will host the Checkers on Saturday while Grand Rapids visits Milwaukee at 7 p.m. EDT. The Griffins would win their eighth division title either with a win over the Admirals plus any Chicago loss to Charlotte, or with an overtime or shootout loss to Milwaukee coupled with a Wolves regulation loss.
Regardless, the Griffins know that they will face Charlotte in the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals if they claim the division crown, or they'll play Milwaukee if they finish in second place.
The Checkers struck first during a power play at 10:46 of the opening period, as Andrew Poturalski slid across the hashmarks to tip Andrew Miller's wrister from the right point past Jared Coreau.
A quick turn of events early in the second period resulted in a two-goal swing in the Griffins' favor. After an apparent goal by Levko Koper that would have given Charlotte a 2-0 lead at 4:36 was negated by a too-many-men penalty, Grand Rapids knotted the score 29 seconds later during its ensuing power play when Matt Lorito beat a screened McCollum from the top of the left circle.
Midway through the second period during a 5-on-4 advantage, Matthew Ford staked the Griffins to a 2-1 lead from close quarters by deflecting a shot that Lorito launched from atop the right circle at 9:12. Lady luck then frowned on the Checkers once again with 7:31 remaining, when Valentin Zykov put a puck into a Grand Rapids net that had been dislodged a split-second earlier, eventually preserving the home team's slim margin through 40 minutes.
Charlotte tied matters at 2-2 by scoring the night's fourth power play tally 8:18 into the third, as Haydn Fleury's blast from the left point bounced off a Griffins defender and snuck behind Coreau to set up Tangradi's overtime heroics.
McCollum, now 11-2-3 since joining the Checkers last month, made 38 stops in following up Wednesday's 42-save effort against his former mates. Coreau, meanwhile, finished with 27 saves to improve to 3-1-1 in his last five outings.
Notes: With a win on Saturday at Milwaukee, the Griffins would claim their sixth 100-point season...Tonight's attendance of 9,324 gave the Griffins an average of 8,245 for their 38 regular season home games, ranking fifth in the league while marking both their second-highest average attendance over the last 17 years and their fourth consecutive season with an average greater than 8,000.
Three Stars: 1. GR Lorito (power play goal, assist); 2. GR Tangradi (game-winning goal); 3. CHA Fleury (power play goal)
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from April 15, 2017
- Game Recap | Amerks Close out Season with 3-0 Loss to Devils - Rochester Americans
- Game Recap: Penguins 5, Sound Tigers 4 - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Rampage Double up Stars 6-3 in Regular Season Finale - San Antonio Rampage
- Crunch Claim North Division Title with 5-2 Win over Comets - Syracuse Crunch
- Agozzino, Wolves Clinch Central Division Title - Chicago Wolves
- Griffins to Set Sail in Playoffs against Admirals - Grand Rapids Griffins
- American Hockey League Announces First-Round Schedules for 2017 - AHL
- Wolves Clinch Central Division Title; Open Calder Cup Playoffs - Chicago Wolves
- NEWS Checkers Announce First-Round Playoff Series - Charlotte Checkers
- Admirals to Face Griffins in Calder Cup Playoffs - Milwaukee Admirals
- Wolves Open Calder Cup Playoffs against Milwaukee - Chicago Wolves
- Comets Season Ends with Loss to Crunch - Utica Comets
- RECAP: Penguins Come Back, Defeat Sound Tigers in Season Finale, 5-4 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- Iowa Cruises Past Rockford in Season Finale 5-2 - Iowa Wild
- WOLF PACK GAME RECAP - Springfield Thunderbirds 5, Hartford Wolf Pack - Hartford Wolf Pack
- B-Sens Drop Finale 4-1 in Front of 4,896 - Binghamton Senators
- IceHogs Announce 2016-17 Team Awards - Rockford IceHogs
- Phantoms Unveil Calder Cup Playoffs First Round Schedule - Lehigh Valley Phantoms
- RECAP | RECAP | IceCaps Clinch Playoff Spot in 4-1 Win over Marlies - St. John's IceCaps
- Admirals Drop Regular Season Finale - Milwaukee Admirals
- P-Bruins Announce First Round Schedule - Providence Bruins
- Penguins to Start Playoffs with Providence on Friday. - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- P-Bruins Fall to Hershey in Regular Season Finale - Providence Bruins
- Devils Blank Amerks to Close out Regular Season - Albany Devils
- Syracuse Crunch Announce 2016-17 Team Awards - Syracuse Crunch
- Finale Features Fan Appreciation Night - Rockford IceHogs
- Condors Season Finale Tonight with Craft Beer and Spider-Man at 6 - Bakersfield Condors
- Ontario Reign Game Preview: Reign Close 2016-17 Regular Season - Ontario Reign
- CLEVELAND MONSTERS: Blue Jackets Recall Milano, Forsberg From - Cleveland Monsters
- Purcell and Amadio Dazzle, Reign Fall in Shootout to Gulls - Ontario Reign
- Admirals Sink Hogs in Final Road Matchup - Rockford IceHogs
- Gulls Down Reign in 4-3 Shootout Win of Final Regular Season Road - San Diego Gulls
- Reinhart Scores in Condors 2-1 Loss to Stockton - Bakersfield Condors
- Griffins' 3-2 OT Win Prolongs Division Suspense - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Game Recap | Amerks Edge Devils for 5-4 Win in Home Finale - Rochester Americans
- Stars Blank Rampage 1-0 - San Antonio Rampage
- Comets Stay Alive in Playoff Hunt with Win - Utica Comets
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.
Other Recent Grand Rapids Griffins Stories
- Detroit Assigns 11 to Grand Rapids
- Griffins to Return to Play in February
- Griffins to Ring in New Year in Detroit
- Griffins' Teddy Bear Toss & Holiday Drive Nets Sleighful for Local Charities
- Griffins and Versiti Blood Center to Host Blood Drive at Van Andel Arena on January 2