Griffins’ season comes to a close with a Game 5 loss to Manitoba

By @MichaelCaples –

With 13 seconds left in the second period, Cameron Schilling scored to break a 1-1 tie for his Manitoba Moose on a lucky bounce.

The Griffins never recovered.

Manitoba added to its lead in the third period, eventually beating Grand Rapids 5-1 at Van Andel Arena in the winner-take-all Game 5 of their AHL first-round playoff series.

With that, the Griffins’ season comes to a close, and the Moose advance to the second round of the postseason.

Schilling’s decisive goal came when Brendan Lemieux tried to fire a shot on the Griffins’ goal, and the puck bounced off a skate. The shot turned into a backdoor pass for Schilling, who capitalized on the opportunity.

Matt Puempel scored the lone goal for the Griffins, who will now have to relinquish control of the Calder Cup after winning it last spring.

Jared Coreau was between the pipes for the Griffins in the loss; he finishes the postseason with a 1-1 record after Tom McCollum started the first three games of the series.

Grand Rapids had won Game 2 in Manitoba, and Game 4 in Grand Rapids last Thursday to force a decisive Game 5 Monday night.

The Griffins were without regular-season goal leader Eric Tangradi, who was suspended for Monday night’s game after a cross-checking incident in Game 4.

Manitoba put a dent in the home-ice advantage for the Griffins when they jumped out to an early lead.

Brendan Lemieux put the Moose in the driver’s seat when he beat Coreau just 1:49 into the contest with a move to the backhand after a feed from Buddy Robinson.

Puempel scored on a power play at the 6:53 mark of the first to even the score at 1-1. He sent a slap shot past goaltender Eric Comrie for his first goal of the postseason.

That would be it for the Griffins’ offense, and it looked like it would be a low-scoring affair until Schilling struck in the closing seconds of the middle frame.

MiHockey Staff

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