The visitors scored just four minutes after Francis Beauvillier’s opening strike to tie the game. The Griffins attacked relentlessly, attaining three more goals in the opening frame, jumping ahead 4-1 after 20 minutes of work, on first period goals from Matthew Ford, Eric Tangradi, Turner Elson and Ben Street.
Hometown fans gathered at Bell MTS Place hoping to see a miraculous comeback did not receive their wish, as Evgeny Svechnikov buried the Moose with a second period goal – the Griffins’ fifth of the game.
Goaltender Eric Comrie’s night came to an early end after the second period of play, giving backup Jamie Phillips his first taste of AHL playoff action. He stopped all 15 pucks he faced in the third period of play.
Things got a little rough in the third period as Manitoba picked up eight straight penalties, resulting in 43 minutes in penalties. Grand Rapids went 2/8 on the power play, while the Moose went scoreless in four opportunities. Captains Ben Street and Matthew Ford led the way for the Griffins, picking up a goal and two assists each.
Tied one game apiece, the best-of-five series now shifts to Grand Rapids, as the Griffins will host the Moose for games three, four and potentially five, beginning Wednesday at 6:00 P.M. central time.
By Carter Brooks
Photos by James Carey Lauder