Teemu Pulkkien scored twice to lead the Grand Rapids Griffins (Red Wings) to a 5-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs (Blackhawks) in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals for a 2-0 series lead Friday night at Van Andel Arena.
Rockford will begin their attempt to climb out of a 2-0 deficit when the best-of-seven series shifts to the BMO Harris Bank Center for Game 3 on Wednesday.
The IceHogs looked strong early, and Brandon Mashinter opened the scoring when he fired a blast front the slot past Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum five-hole for a 1-0 lead at 6:19. Spencer Abbott and Philip Danault were credited with assists.
Tyler Bertuzzi would answer seven minutes later with a shot that bounced off IceHogs goaltender Michael Leighton's glove and into the net to tie 1-1 ending into the first intermission.
The IceHogs outplayed the Griffins throughout the first 20 minutes, but Grand Rapids used Bertuzzi's late goal as a catalyst to regain momentum. Anthony Mantha scored the eventual game-winner -- his first of the playoffs -- on a a 2-on-1 rush with Kevin Porter midway through the second.
The IceHogs started the third with Pulkkinen in the penalty box for slashing, but were unable to convert. 33 seconds after leaving the box, Pulkkinen tallied his first goal for a 3-1 lead. Pulkkinen fired a shot to the net, which Leighton kicked away to the waiting stick of Jeff Hoggan, who tapped in the loose puck for a 4-1 advantage. It was Hoggan's first goal of the playoffs.
Pulkkinen cashed in on a two-minute 5-on-3 power play to extend the Griffins lead to 5-1 at 15:24. The 23-year-old Finnish forward has scored 11 goals in seven playoff games this postseason.
Leighton allowed all five goals on 30 shots in the loss. At the other end, McCollum stopped 28 shots for the Griffins fifth-straight victory at home.
Grand Rapids has yet to win on the road this postseason.
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