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McGrath scores twice as the Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Toronto Marlies 6-3

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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McGrath scores twice as the Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Toronto Marlies 6-3

The Canadian Press
By:

TORONTO - Evan McGrath scored twice to lead the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies in American Hockey League action Saturday.

Jeremy Williams, Mattias Ritola, Jamie Tardif and Tomas Tatar, with an empty-netter, also scored for Grand Rapids - which went 3-for-5 with the man advantage - in front of 4,126 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

"Their power play was really good, they got three goals that way," said Marlies captain Ben Ondrus. "It's something we need to fix."

Williams, who spent his first five pro seasons in Toronto's system and is the Marlies' all-time leading goal-scorer (74), and Tatar also chipped in with two assists for three-point efforts, while Griffins defenceman Jakub Kindl collected three helpers.

The win was the second in a row for the Griffins to improve to 12-5-0 on the season. Grand Rapids has won 11 of its past 12 games, including a nine-game win streak that lasted from Oct. 23 to Nov. 13.

"I thought we controlled the 5-on-5 play," said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins, "We had some great chances and with any luck a couple of those pucks go in. They had a goal go in off of someone's foot on the power play, and we had a couple of missed assignments on their two other power-play goals, and that was it."

Jay Rosehill and Alex Foster, with a pair of third-period goals, replied for Toronto, which recorded its fifth loss in its past six games to fall to 7-7-3 on the season. Marlies winger Viktor Stalberg assisted on both of Foster's tallies.

"Hopefully we'll get a win (Sunday against visiting Lake Erie)," Ondrus said.

Griffins goaltender Daniel Larsson stopped 25-of-28 shots for the victory. At the other end, the Marlies goalie Joey MacDonald made 17 saves.

"Joey MacDonald has been excellent for us," Eakins said, "I've got no concerns with him."

The score was tied 1-1 after the first period before Grand Rapids took over with three unanswered goals in the middle frame to skate into the third period with a commanding 4-1 lead.

McGrath opened the scoring in the first period, a few seconds after Toronto defenceman Brennan Evans stepped out of the penalty box for a slashing minor. The Griffins centre tipped a shot by Kindl past MacDonald at 11:41 to spot the visitors to a 1-0 lead.

Rosehill, with his first AHL goal of the season after starting the 2009-10 campaign with the parent Toronto Maple Leafs, tied the game at 1-1 when he deflected Brett Festerling's wrister from the right point past Larsson at 19:38.

McGrath restored Grand Rapids' advantage when he converted on the power play at 3:52 of the second period, with assists to Kindl and Williams.

Williams made it 3-1 for the visitors at 11:12 of the middle frame, with his team-leading ninth goal of the season, when he whipped a shot from the slot past MacDonald while the Griffins were enjoying another man advantage.

Less than three minutes later, Ritola collected a rebound in front of MacDonald and deposited the puck past the sprawling Marlies goalie at 13:50 to give Grand Rapids a 4-1 cushion heading into the final 20 minutes.

Tardif made it 5-1 at 5:51 of the third on the power play when he tapped in Tatar's cross-crease pass. A few minutes later, at 8:15 of the third, Foster's slapshot from the right point beat a screened Larsson for a power-play marker. Foster struck again at 15:15 of the third when he one-timed a pass from Stalberg past Larsson.

Tatar closed out the scoring with an empty-netter at 18:07.

Toronto was 1-for-5 on the power play.

The Marlies play their third game in three days - and fourth contest in five days - when they host the Lake Erie Monsters on Sunday. Grand Rapids is off until a road game at the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday.

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McGrath scores twice as the Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Toronto Marlies 6-3