Cleveland Monsters 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4
Jan. 12, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The AHL’s hottest team since the holidays roasted yet another opponent on Friday, as the Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Cleveland Monsters by a 4-2 count at Van Andel Arena to improve to a league-best 9-1-0-1 since Dec. 22.
The Griffins dominated the shots on goal category to the tune of 32-20, with Jared Coreau’s 18 saves making light work of Cleveland. The netminder has six wins in his last seven starts and has guided Grand Rapids to at least a point in eight of his last nine outings.
Now 19-16-1-4 following their third straight win, the Griffins sank the Monsters deeper into the AHL’s cellar at 10-19-3-3, but there can be no resting on laurels. The last two Calder Cup champions will stage a rematch in Grand Rapids at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Coming off consecutive wins at league-leading Manitoba earlier this week, Grand Rapids avoided a letdown by scoring 5:49 into the opening period, when Ben Street put the Griffins ahead. Speeding up the left side, he took a pass from Robbie Russo, crossed the Cleveland blue line and launched a shot that immediately changed direction off the stick blade of Blake Siebenaler and sailed past the catching glove of Matiss Kivlenieks.
Longtime Grand Rapids nemesis Alex Broadhurst evened up the score 5:08 later, pouncing on a loose puck in the high slot and firing through three Griffins to find the corner above Coreau’s blocker.
The home squad reclaimed the lead on a power play goal with 1:58 remaining in the frame, thanks to a smart play by two-time AHL All-Star Matt Lorito. From below the right goal line, he threaded a pass through the slot and into the left circle to Filip Hronek, who slammed a shot inside the near post before Kivlenieks could get across.
Dominic Turgeon pushed the Griffins’ advantage to 3-1 at the 3:06 mark of the second. He split a pair of Monsters as he cut from the high slot to the bottom of the left circle, then lifted a sharp-angle shot that found a sliver of daylight between Kivlenieks’ shoulder and the iron for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Kivlenieks, who finished with 28 saves, was replaced by an extra attacker with four minutes remaining in the game, enabling Eric Tangradi to connect on a shot into the vacated cage from in front of the Monsters’ bench at 18:33. Gabriel Carlsson snuck a shot past Coreau from the right circle with 34 seconds left for the final margin.
Cleveland was sent down to defeat for the fifth straight game (0-4-0-1), the ninth time in 10 games (1-8-0-1) and 18th time in 21 games (3-15-1-2).
Notes: Defenseman Brian Lashoff appeared in his 366th regular season contest as a Griffin, moving past Mitch Callahan into sole possession of second place on the franchise’s all-time games played list. Only Travis Richards has logged more games in a Grand Rapids uniform, with 655…The Griffins are 3-0 versus Cleveland this season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Coreau (W, 18 saves); 2. GR Hronek (power play goal); 3. GR Turgeon (game-winning goal)