Nov. 20, 2015
SAN DIEGO —Tomas Jurco earned a hat trick and lead the Grand Rapids Griffins [4-8-0-1] to a 7-4 victory over the San Diego Gulls at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. A crowd of 8,240 saw just the third power play hat trick in Griffins history, as Grand Rapids took advantage of nine minor penalties to hand the Gulls their fourth straight defeat.
San Diego [9-5-0-1], entering the night on top of the AHL list for penalty minutes taken, saw an early holding penalty immediately converted, as Grand Rapids’ Eric Tangradi won the faceoff clean to Ryan Sproul, who one-timed a blast past John Gibson just two seconds into the power play for a 1-0 lead at 2:14 of the first.
Shortly thereafter, a boarding penalty put the Griffins on the power play again, and Jurco netted his first goal of the game on a cross-ice feed from Nathan Paetsch for a 2-0 lead 7:33 into the game. Jurco, on a two-week conditioning loan from the Detroit Red Wings, finished with a four-point night. When Mitch Callahan deflected a blue-line drive from Sproul top shelf over Gibson just 51 seconds later, a 3-0 advantage was built for the home team.
San Diego began the first of multiple comebacks on Max Friberg’s power play goal from Chris Mueller and Brandon Montour at 13:06 to trim the deficit to 3-1. The assist was Montour’s thirteenth of the year and ninth power play assist, the top mark in the AHL.
The momentum was short lived, however, as a turnover turned into a 3-on-1 rush against late in the third, and Andreas Athanasiou combined with Anthony Mantha on a pretty combination passing play, finishing with his second goal of the year and a 4-1 lead.
The Gulls would dominate the second period, out-shooting the Griffins 16-9 and scoring when Joseph Cramarossa trickled a loose puck rebound past Grand Rapids goalie Jared Coreau to narrow the score to 4-2 at 5:52.
An early tally by Tangradi in the opening 1:12 of the third reestablished a three-goal lead for the Griffins, but the Gulls would begin a determined rally. Montour slapped home his fourth goal of the year on the power play from the blue line to draw San Diego to 5-3 down. Brian McGrattan netted his third of the year on a scrum on the edge of the Grand Rapids crease at 8:51 to bring San Diego within a goal at 5-4.
Instead of having a chance to complete the comeback, the Gulls instead spent eight of the remaining eleven minutes on the penalty kill. After fading one Griffins attempt, a double-minor on Shane O’Brien with 4:54 remaining for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct turned into a pair of goals, with Jurco scoring on both ends of the penalty to establish the final score line. San Diego set season worsts for goals and power play goals allowed while falling to 0-2 on their three-game road trip.
The Gulls now travel to Milwaukee to conclude their cross-country road trip with a 5pm PST puck drop against the Admirals at Bradley Center. The game will be broadcast web-only on the Mighty1090 app and at themighty1090.com.