Marlies Come From Behind and Double Up Griffins at Home

Kadri benched in first, but scores winner for Marlies in 4 2 rally over Griffins

Canadian Press
April 1, 2012

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TORONTO _ He was benched in the first period, but Nazem Kadri came through for the Toronto Marlies when it mattered most.

The 21-year-old centre went hard to the net and scored the winning goal with 52 seconds left in the third period to lift the Marlies to a 4-2 comeback victory over the visiting Grand Rapids Griffins in American Hockey League action on Sunday.

``He's an excellent player,'' said Marlies coach Dallas Eakins. ``He's dangerous every time he goes on the ice.

``But I thought he was pushing too much in the first period so I sat him for the final six minutes. Then we had a calm conversation and afterwards he looked me in the eye and said, 'I'm going to make it up to the team.' And after he scored he came back to the bench and looked me in the eye again and said, 'I told you I'd make it up to the team.' ''

Kadri wasn't quite so dramatic in describing his game-winner, which came on a give-and-go passing play with linemate Nicolas Deschamps. He forced his way to the front of the net and snuck the puck past Griffins goaltender Thomas McCollum to complete the Marlies' rally in front of 7,041 fans at Ricoh Coliseum.

``It was a really nice play by (Deschamps),'' Kadri said. ``It was a great pass back to me and I was able to put it in.''

Phillipe Dupuis had two goals and Greg Scott added an empty-netter for Toronto, while Marcel Mueller chipped in with two assists. Dupuis scored late in the second period and again early in the third to turn a 2-0 deficit into a tie game.

``That was awesome,'' Eakins said. ``He got our bench going with both goals. He's been excellent for us.''

The Marlies (41-23-7) won their second consecutive game to improve to a 13-point lead in the North Division with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

Francis Pare and Brent Raedeke replied for the Griffins (31-28-10).

Toronto goalie Mark Owuya made 15 saves for the victory, while McCollum turned aside 29 of 32 shots.

Grand Rapids led 2-0 after the first period and the Griffins were up 2-1 through 40 minutes.

``We got down 2-0 early and that's a pretty big lead in this league,'' Dupuis said. ``But we came back and that's the kind of game we're going to face and need to win in the playoffs.''

Pare and Raedeke scored 15 seconds apart midway through the first period to give the Griffins an early two-goal cushion. With Toronto's Will Acton in the penalty box, Pare finished off a pretty three-way passing play with a one-timer from the slot that beat Owuya on the blocker side at 9:41. The Griffins scored again on their next rush up the ice when Raedeke whipped a high wrist shot past Owuya's glove at 9:56.

The teams traded chances in the second period, but neither side was able to score until Dupuis sped around a Grand Rapids defender and fired a shot past McCollum to put the Marlies on the board at 19:41.

Dupuis struck again early in the third period, tying the game at 2-2 with a low wrist shot through McCollum's five-hole at 3:57. The Marlies had a 5-on-3 advantage for more than a minute late in third, but couldn't beat McCollum. However, Kadri's seeing-eye shot found a hole by the right goalpost at 19:08 of the third, and Scott's empty-netter at 19:57 sealed the win for Toronto.

Toronto was 0-for-7 on the power play while Grand Rapids went 1-for-5.

The Marlies and Griffins are off until they next Friday and Saturday when they renew acquaintances in a home-and-home series.

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