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Granlund scores as Abbotsford beats Grand Rapids 2-1 to stave off elimination

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Abbotsford Heat hope a last-minute goal keeps their season alive for more than one extra game.

Marcus Granlund scored a power-play goal with a minute left in regulation as the Heat staved off elimination with a 2-1 win in Game 3 against the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Corey Locke also scored for the Heat, who still trail 2-1 in the best-of-five series with Game 4 scheduled for Friday in Grand Rapids.

"We came here and got the first one, and we need two more," Granlund said. "We're taking it day by day, and game by game, and we have to keep going. We have to keep pushing and win the next game, too."

After dropping the first two games on their home ice, the Heat returned the favour by rallying in the final period for a pair of goals to erase a 1-0 deficit and earn the critical road win.

"Our backs are against the wall, we realize that," Abbotsford coach Troy Ward said. "We came on the trip knowing we would play 20 minutes at a time, and the good thing about our team is we're never too high or too low.

"We felt good about Game 1, and obviously we stubbed our toe in Game 2, but we felt pretty good about ourselves coming in tonight."

Granlund's game winner came after Grand Rapids' Jeff Hoggan was whistled for high sticking with 1:20 left to put the Heat on the power play.

Former Griffin Chad Billins delivered the pass to Granlund, who knocked it past Grand Rapids goalie Petr Mrazek.

"It was a great pass by Billins, and I just shot it and it was a goal," Granlund said. "It was very exciting."

Abbotsford went 1 for 9 on the power play in Games 1 and 2, and was 0 for 3 in Game 3 before the final goal.

"Our power play has struggled so far in the series, so that was the bright eyed part of the game," Ward said. "It was a good play by Granlund, and he's been probably our catalyst all year."

Grand Rapids, the defending Calder Cup champions, grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a power-play goal with 2:33 remaining in the first period when Tomas Jurco scored on a wrist shot off a pass from Riley Sheahan.

Heat goalie Joni Ortio helped keep it a one-goal game with 19 stops through the first two periods and the Heat finally broke through less than six minutes into the third.

Locke ripped a shot past Mrazek to tie the game before Granlund's goal at 18:58.

"I thought as the game wore on, we skated better," Ward said. "I thought we had a couple really good pushes in the second there and I thought that made a difference with our confidence coming out in the third. We just picked it up after that.

"This game had a lot of the same characteristics as Game 1. We got fortunate bounces at the right time and Ortio played a good game again."

Ortio stopped 34 shots, while Mrazek finished with 23 saves.

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