Griffins hang on, force Game 5

Tomas Nosek scored a pair of goals and the Grand Rapids Griffins staved off elimination for a second straight game with a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Marlies at Van Andel Arena on Saturday night.

The decisive Game 5 of the best-of-five series between the teams is set for Sunday evening in Grand Rapids.

Matt Frattin opened the scoring for Toronto just 46 seconds into the game, snapping a shot past Tom McCollum from the bottom of the right-wing circle for his third goal of the series.

Nosek then scored twice in less than five minutes, tying it at 1-1 with an unassisted shorthanded marker at 6:44 and giving the Griffins the lead on a power play at 11:07 by chipping in the rebound of Xavier Ouellet’s point shot.

Matt Rupert pulled the Marlies back even at 2:24 of the second period, deflecting a Stuart Percy in for his second playoff goal.

With the score still tied heading into the third, Andreas Athanasiou put the Griffins up for good at the 2:30 mark, banking a shot in off Toronto goalie Christopher Gibson from below the goal line. Teemu Pulkkinen then fired home his sixth goal of the series — and 29th goal in his last 25 AHL games — off a face-off at the start of a Grand Rapids power play to make it 4-2.

Tyler Bertuzzi’s second goal of the series at 15:18 appeared to be just insurance, but it proved to be the difference as the Marlies got extra-attacker goals from Brendan Mikkelson and T.J. Brennan to pull within 5-4 late.

McCollum (2-2) stopped 28 shots for the win. Gibson (2-2) finished with 22 saves.