WINNIPEG, MAN – Heading into the playoffs series, Grand Rapids had Manitoba’s number all regular season. Grand Rapids had not lost in Winnipeg all this year, and Manitoba had not beaten Grand Rapids since late November.
From the start of the game, Grand Rapids played very well. The Griffins were the first team on the board as Ben Street on a rebound would get it past Moose netminder Eric Comrie at 12:42 of the first period. A first period that Grand Rapids dominated outshooting Manitoba 20-8.
The momentum shifted away from Grand Rapids’ favor, though, in the second as the Moose outshot the Griffins 16-8. Griffins netminder Tom McCollum played strong throughout stopping everything his path to help the Griffins keep their 1-0 lead entering the third.
In what would be an interesting back and forth third period, Moose forward Jan Kostalek would score on a blast only 6:22 into the period, a shaky goal given up by McCollum. AHL veteran and Griffins forward Turner Elson would score on a short-side shot to give Grand Rapids back the lead at 12:41.
Cameron Schilling would tie the game back up on another long shot to by Manitoba only a minute later. After Griffins defenseman Dylan Mcllrath sat for a tripping call at 17:25, Michael Spacek would score for the Moose at 18:51 of the third period on the power play thanks to a a good pass from Nic Petan which would stand as the game winner.
With the loss, Grand Rapids loses its first game all year at Bell MTS Place. Grand Rapids’ power play was cold all night going 0/3, and Moose goaltender Comrie played well stopping 31 shots along with being named the game’s first star. Grand Rapids looks to get back into the series Sunday afternoon as Game 2 is another 3 p.m. EDT puck drop.