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Pulkkinen, Griffins stay alive

Teemu Pulkkinen scored two more goals and Tyler Bertuzzi‘s first postseason tally was the game-winner as Grand Rapids defeated Toronto, 5-2, at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday.

The Marlies still hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series with Game 4 scheduled for Saturday night.

Pulkkinen, who before the game was presented with the Willie Marshall Award as the AHL’s leading goal-scorer in 2014-15, netted his fourth and fifth goals of the series and was also denied on a penalty shot attempt in the second period. Pulkkinen has scored 28 goals in his last 24 games with the Griffins.

Andy Miele and Andreas Athanasiou gave Grand Rapids a 2-1 lead after Troy Bodie had put the Marlies in front early. Bertuzzi, a second-round draft pick by Detroit in 2013, made it 3-1 at the 9:11 mark of the third period, and Pulkkinen’s first of the night upped the lead to 4-1 just 38 seconds later.

Brendan Mikkelson got Toronto back within two with a power-play goal at 12:32, but Pulkkinen provided the final margin with a goal into an empty Marlies net.

Tom McCollum (1-1) turned aside 25 of 27 shots to earn the first playoff win of his six-year pro career.

Christopher Gibson (2-1) stopped 25 of 29 shots for the Marlies.

Western Conference Quarterfinals – Series “F” (best-of-5)
2-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. 7-Toronto Marlies

Game 1 – Sat., Apr. 25 – TORONTO 7, Grand Rapids 4
Game 2 – Sun., Apr. 26 – TORONTO 5, Grand Rapids 2
Game 3 – Wed., Apr. 29 – GRAND RAPIDS 5, Toronto 2
Game 4 – Sat., May 2 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sun., May 3 – Toronto at Grand Rapids, 5:00
   *if necessary… All times Eastern