ABBOTSFORD, B.C. - Griffins forward Landon Ferraro made sure his supporters in attendance didn't go home disappointing.
With at least 25 fans cheering him on, the Vancouver resident scored twice as Grand Rapids beat the Abbotsford Heat 4-1 in American Hockey League action Friday.
“In junior I don't think I scored one goal at the Pacific Coliseum,” said Ferraro, recalling when his Western Hockey League teams Red Deer and Everett would visit the Vancouver Giants. “It's nice to get one in front of family.”
Ferraro had actually scored in his first trip to the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre last season and now has three goals in as many games while visiting B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
“He's an offensive player and a great guy,” said Griffins' captain Jeff Hoggan. “It was good to see him step up tonight.”
Hoggan and Tomas Jurco also scored as Grand Rapids (40-23-56) moved within one point of second-place Toronto in the Western Conference standings.
Petr Mrazek made 23 saves to snap a personal five-game losing streak. His best stop was in the third when he robbed Max Reinhart to keep the shutout intact. The rookie sprawled across his crease to get a glove on a backhand shot to deny Reinhart of a sure goal.
“He's had a couple rough outings with us in front of him the last couple,” said Ferraro. “Tonight we didn't give up many shots but he made some huge saves. It easily could have been 3-3 going into overtime but he kept us in it and that's what he's done all year.”
Krys Kolanos scored for the Heat, while Barry Brust stopped 15 shots before being pulled in favour of Danny Taylor, who mopped up with 22 saves.
The Heat (31-30-10) trails a playoff spot by just three points, but every team they are trying to catch has multiple games in hand.
“Our first two periods we were just out-competed,” said Heat forward Tyler Ruegsegger. “That's just not good enough, especially when we're fighting for a playoff spot.”
Ferraro, with his father Ray Ferraro in attendance for a Heroes of Hockey promotion, opened the scoring for the Griffins at 4:11 of the first. Jurco's initial shot was stopped but Ferraro raced to the net to snap a loose puck past a sprawling Brust.
“The first goal was big, Lando doing that,” said Hoggan. “We kept getting shots. We had them doubled at one point. We didn't give them any hope that they could get back in it. We kept the pressure up and sustained it.”
Ferraro picked up his second of the game on the power play at 7:12. Calle Jarnkrok found him down low at the side of the net, and when Brust reached out to poke check Ferraro the 21-year-old slipped it through the five-hole.
That was Ferraro's fourth multi-goal game of the year, though it was just his first tally in his past nine games.
The Griffins chased Brust from the net with another goal just 47 seconds later. Hoggan drove to the front of the net from the corner and outwaited Brust, firing the puck around the goalie for his 18th of the season.
Kolanos got the Heat on the board at 11:16 while on their fifth power play. Blair Jones snapped a shot that deflected first off Ben Walter and then off Kolanos, breaking Mrazek's shutout bid.
However, Jurco added an empty netter with 96 seconds to play to seal the Heat's fate.
NOTES: Roman Horak and Brett Carson were called up by the Flames this week.