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GRIFFINS HALT SKID BEHIND MACINTYRE'S PERFECT PERFORMANCE

CLEVELAND - Drew MacIntyre made 26 saves for his first professional shutout on Sunday at Gund Arena, leading the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-0 win over the Cleveland Barons that snapped their franchise-record nine-game winless streak.

Darryl Bootland gave the Griffins the only goal they would need in the opening minutes of the game and Matt Ellis added a pair for good measure, as Grand Rapids posted its first win since Dec. 15. The Griffins, now 19-15-1-1 on the season, will return to Van Andel Arena this weekend to host the St. John’s Maple Leafs on Friday and the division-leading Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday.

After having surrendered the first goal in eight of their previous nine games, the Griffins finally seized the early upper hand on Bootland’s unassisted tally. He took a wrist shot from the high slot that seemed to fool netminder Nolan Schaefer, glancing off his glove and over the goal line just 1:29 into the contest.

Bootland’s goal gave the Griffins their first lead in a span of 341:48 and broke Schaefer’s personal shutout streak of 126:38 against them. Schaefer had blanked Grand Rapids in consecutive tries, including Saturday’s 2-0 decision at Gund Arena.

Grand Rapids, which had fallen behind 2-0 in each of the previous five games, then took its own 2-0 lead at the 8:40 mark. Ryan Barnes crashed the net to tip a centering pass from Eric Himelfarb past Schaefer, giving the Griffins their first two-goal cushion since their last win 25 days ago.

Just over four minutes later, they pushed their advantage to 3-0 by capitalizing on a faceoff in the Barons’ zone. Ellis won the draw back to Bryan Helmer at the right point, then joined the traffic in front of the net to tip Helmer’s ice-skimming blast past Schaefer at 12:43.

Ellis scored his second of the night off an assist from Nathan Robinson only 3:04 into the second period, giving the Griffins a four-goal lead that they would maintain over the final 37 minutes.

Cleveland dropped to 16-19-1-2 with its sixth loss in seven tries, despite Schaefer’s 26-save effort. MacIntyre’s first shutout since his 2002-03 junior season with Sherbrooke improved his record to 5-3. He now shows a 2.47 GAA and a 0.912 save percentage in 12 appearances for the Griffins this season.


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