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GR 5, RCH 1

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Rochester Americans 1

Feb. 8, 2014

— The Grand Rapids Griffins completed their season series sweep of the Rochester Americans with a 5-1 win Saturday at the First Niagara Center, home to the Buffalo Sabres.

In the Griffins’ first game on NHL ice since April 26, 2006, Tom McCollum backstopped the win with 27 saves, and Jeff Hoggan and Cory Emmerton tallied a goal and an assist each.

With the win, Grand Rapids improved to 30-15-2-2 and lengthened its commanding lead over the Midwest Division with 64 points.

The Griffins lit the lamp first at 7:22 of the opening period. Hoggan drove to the net and Emmerton picked up the rebound from a pad save, burying it from a tough angle along the goal line.

Mitch Callahan, Grand Rapids’ leading goal scorer, doubled the lead at 13:12. After Nathan Paetsch sent a shot from the blue line, Callahan challenged Matt Hackett at the crease and poked it in before the netminder could freeze the puck.

The game was a return to a familiar arena for Paetsch, who was a member of the Buffalo Sabres organization from 2003-10. He finished the game with two assists.

About two minutes later, Callahan was sent to the box for interference on the game’s first penalty. The Americans (23-17-3-3) controlled the perimeter of the Griffins’ zone, and Rasmus Ristolainen rocketed a one-timer from the left point at 16:47 to pull the game within one and finish the period 2-1.

Two quick goals midway through the second period extended the lead for Grand Rapids.

The Hoggan and Emmerton duo struck again 10:10 into the period when Emmerton closed in on Hackett at dropped a pass to Hoggan to the right side of the net. Hoggan backhanded the puck behind Hackett’s pad for the tally.

At 12:01, Teemu Pulkkinen and Alexey Marchenko took off on a two-on-one rush. Pulkkinen slammed a slapshot, and Marchenko was in the perfect spot to knock in the rebound at the right post.

Martin Frk scored his first goal as a Griffin at 1:13 of the third period to top off the Griffins’ win. Brennan Evans sent a shot from the blue line, and Trevor Parkes redirected the puck onto the stick of Frk at the top of crease for the easy tap in.

Despite Rochester outshooting the Griffins 14-5 in the final period, McCollum held the Americans scoreless in the final 20 minutes for the win.

Marchenko and head coach Jeff Blashill will participate in the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic on Feb. 11-12 at the Mile One Center in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Blashill is the first Griffins coach in 12 years to be selected to lead an AHL All-Star squad.

The Griffins will resume play after the break with a two-game series against the San Antonio Rampage on Feb. 14 and 15 at Van Andel Arena. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. both nights.

Three Stars: 1. GR Hoggan (goal, assist); 2. GR Emmerton (goal, assist); 3. GR Paetsch (two assists)

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: Emmerton goal Callahan goal Hoggan goal Marchenko goal Frk goal
Official Game Report


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