Peoria Powers Past Griffins, 4-3
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - In a game that saw all seven goals scored on power plays, including two for each team during 5-on-3 advantages, the Peoria Rivermen came out on top with a 4-3 decision over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday at Van Andel Arena.
Peoria (16-10-1-2), whose six goals during the home-and-home set with Grand Rapids all came on the power play, scored its third and fourth markers in disputed fashion, handing the Griffins (13-15-3-2) their fifth setback in the last six games. Grand Rapids will visit Milwaukee on Friday before ringing out 2006 with home games on Saturday and New Year's Eve.
The Griffins struck during a 5-on-3 early in the second period for a 1-0 lead. Jonathan Ericsson found Kip Miller at the bottom of the right circle, and the AHL All-Star quickly beat Marek Schwarz inside the far post at 3:33 for the 400th goal of his 17-year career. Peoria answered during a Griffins penalty for too many men at 8:43, as Mike Glumac snapped a shot from the left faceoff dot that found its way into the top of the net through a sea of players in front of Stefan Liv.
During a Rivermen 5-on-3 late in the period - just after Liv had robbed Charles Linglet with a beautiful pad save - Peter Sejna gave the visitors their first lead of the night, centering a pass that deflected off Dan Smith and into the net at the 16:01 mark. Trent Whitfield scored during another two-man advantage 3:45 into the final frame for a 3-1 cushion, literally crashing into Liv to force the puck loose and across the line.
Miller's second goal of the night, courtesy of yet another 5-on-3, pulled the Griffins to within one goal at 10:12. From the right point, Ericsson sent a cross-ice pass down low to Josh Langfeld, who zipped a feed through the crease for an easy Miller tap-in from the right side.
The Griffins' comeback chances were dimmed due to a non-call with just under four minutes remaining. Roman Polak mugged Matt Hussey at the Grand Rapids blue line, walked in with the pilfered puck and beat Liv from the hashmarks at 16:11 for the Rivermen's fourth power play goal. Hussey gained a measure of revenge by notching the game's seventh power play goal with 1:06 remaining to make it a 4-3 game, but the Griffins could not net the equalizer despite a flurry around the Peoria net in the final seconds.
Each team finished with nine power play chances. Liv stopped 23 shots in a strong effort, while Schwarz turned aside 19.
After the game, Langfeld was recalled by the Detroit Red Wings for the second time this season.
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