Moose Turn Tables on Griffins

Manitoba Moose 7 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A widespread power outage in downtown Grand Rapids forced a one-hour delay to the start of Saturday’s game at Van Andel Arena, but the switch never turned on for the Griffins as they dropped a 7-2 decision to the Manitoba Moose.

The seven goals were the most allowed by the Griffins at home since April 18, 2015 and brought an abrupt end to their 13-game winning streak at Van Andel Arena, which stretched back to the final two games of the 2016-17 regular season and included a historic 10-0 playoff run.

Manitoba’s offense was electrified by Kyle Connor, Mike Sgarbossa, Brendan Lemieux and Jack Roslovic, each of whom posted a trio of points on the night.

After splitting its season-opening series with the Moose, Grand Rapids (1-1-0-0) will now make a two-game trek to California next weekend, beginning on Friday with a rematch of the 2017 Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Barracuda. Game time is 10 p.m. EDT.

One night after falling behind the Griffins 3-0 in the first period en route to a 5-2 loss, the Moose (1-1-0-0) turned the tables on their hosts by scoring three times before the game was 12 minutes old. Lemieux snuck a wrist shot past Tom McCollum’s glove from the top of the right circle just 1:14 in before Connor scored twice in less than three minutes, getting a power play goal from the left circle at 9:09 and tipping a shot home at 11:50.

Grand Rapids answered with a power play goal before the frame expired, as Robbie Russo beat Michael Hutchinson with a snap shot from the top of the left circle at 16:35. Fellow defenseman Brian Lashoff then cut the deficit to 3-2 early in the second, launching a one-timer from the point that eluded the screened Moose netminder at 4:10.

Buddy Robinson pushed the visitors’ advantage back to two at the 10:11 mark, finishing off an odd-man rush by deking McCollum on the doorstep after taking a centering feed from Sgarbossa. The wheels completely fell off the Griffins’ bus a few minutes later, as the Moose tacked on three goals within a span of 52 seconds to open up a five-goal lead.

A McCollum miscue behind the net led to Roslovic’s tap-in into the vacated cage at 14:13, and Sgarbossa’s blast from the right circle 41 seconds later spelled the end of the night for the Griffins’ starter, who made 18 saves on 24 shots. In came Jared Coreau, who was promptly greeted by Lemieux’s second goal of the night just 11 seconds into his tenure following another misplayed puck below the goal line. 

Coreau shut the door the rest of the way, finishing with 13 saves, while Hutchinson backstopped the Moose’s first win of the season with 36 stops.

Three Stars: 1. MB Connor (two goals, assist); 2. MB Sgarbossa (two goals, assist); 3. MB Lemieux (goal, two assists)

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