GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Darren Helm scored a pair of goals to pace the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 6-3 win over the Manitoba Moose on Friday at the AHL.
Evan McGrath enjoyed a three-point night (1-2-3) and Adam Berkhoel made 20 saves for his 10th win of the season, as the Griffins (30-41-2-6) dealt a blow to the Moose (45-27-2-4) in their battle for playoff positioning. Manitoba's loss, coupled with Syracuse's 4-0 win at Rochester, has deadlocked the Moose and Crunch for second place in the North Division at 96 points apiece, as the two teams fight for home-ice advantage in their upcoming playoff series.
McGrath drew first blood against former teammate Drew MacIntyre just 5:02 into the opening period. He threaded a cross-ice pass to Francis Lemieux, whose one-timer from the top of the circle beat MacIntyre. Tyler Redenbach increased Grand Rapids' advantage to 2-0 during a power play with exactly two minutes left in the frame.
The Moose's Alexandre Bolduc put a wrister through Berkhoel's five hole 19 seconds into the second period to cut the lead. But the Griffins rebuilt their lead to 4-1 when Randall Gelech pounced on a loose puck in the slot and quickly whipped it past MacIntyre, and 1:07 later, Helm broke in on a shorthanded 2-on-1, faking a pass before putting a shot behind the netminder.
Manitoba trimmed its deficit to two early in the third, as Colby Genoway sped around his man and beat Berkhoel. But Helm notched his second of the night at 6:24 to make it a 5-2 contest, collecting his own rebound and lifting a backhand past MacIntyre.
The Moose's Greg Rallo scored on a deflection with 3:34 remaining, and McGrath crashed the net for a power play goal while bowling over MacIntyre with 52 ticks left for the final margin.
MacIntyre finished with 27 saves.