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MINT CONDITION

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 at San Antonio Rampage 0

March 7, 2017

SAN ANTONIOJimmy Howard stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Grand Rapids Griffins blanked the San Antonio Rampage 3-0 on Tuesday at the AT&T Center.
 
Earning his first AHL shutout since a 3-0 victory over the Rochester Americans on April 5, 2009, Howard finished 3-1 with a 2.11 goals against average and a 0.920 save percentage in four starts across two conditioning stints with Grand Rapids. The result also gives the Griffins (38-16-1-2) their third consecutive win as they lead the Chicago Wolves in the Central Division standings by two points with two games in hand. 
 
Grand Rapids won all four games in the regular season series against San Antonio, outscoring the Rampage 18-3. The Griffins look to sweep the Texas portion of their seven-game road trip on Wednesday as they face the Texas Stars with puck drop from the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST. 
 
Following an unremarkable opening period, the Griffins erupted for three second-period goals with Colin Campbell breaking the scoreless tie at the 1:13 mark. After Ben Street fanned on an effort in close, the puck fell right onto the stick of Campbell at the lower part of the right circle for a quick shot inside the right post.
 
The visitors doubled their lead near the halfway point of the second, capitalizing on a delayed penalty when Kyle Criscuolo gained the zone and dropped the puck to Brian Lashoff at the right point for a high wrist shot that deflected off the stick of Matt Lorito in front for his 19th goal of the campaign.
 
Criscuolo gave the Griffins a three-goal cushion with 3:29 remaining. Lorito’s intended rinkwide pass from the right circle deflected off a San Antonio stick and straight to Criscuolo in the high slot for a one-timer inside the left post past a screened Joe Cannata.
 
Forced to kill three penalties in the third period, the Rampage (21-32-4-1) were held to six shots on goal over the final 20 minutes and saw their winless streak climb to 12 consecutive games (0-11-0-1).
 
Grand Rapids finished 0-for-5 on the power play while San Antonio failed to convert on four opportunities. Cannata turned away 20 shots in defeat in his Rampage debut. 
 
Notes: Robbie Russo became the 161st Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL, logging 15:44 of ice time for the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre…Dylan McIlrath played in his 250th professional game…Lorito is the first Griffin and sixth AHL skater to reach the 50-point mark this season…With the secondary assist on Campbell’s goal, Eric Tangradi became the ninth Grand Rapids skater to register 30 or more points…Since Grand Rapids and San Antonio began facing each other in the 2002-03 season, the Griffins have swept a regular season series against the Rampage three times (4-0 in 2016-17, 2-0 in 2008-09 and 4-0 in 2005-06).
 
Three Stars: 1. GR Howard (W, 21 saves, SO); 2. GR Lorito (goal, assist); 3. GR Criscuolo (goal, assist)