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AMERK-Y SITUATION



ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The road woes continued for the Grand Rapids Griffins Friday night with the fifth loss in their last six games away from home, a 4-1 defeat against the Rochester Americans at Blue Cross Arena.

A fast-paced opening frame featured three power plays aside, including a 5-on-3 opportunity for the Amerks lasting 41 seconds. Griffins goaltender Joey MacDonald was sharp, making several key stops as Rochester was unable to convert. Grand Rapids also generated several tremendous scoring chances, but could not break a scoreless tie by the break.

Rochester capitalized on a second period power play at 11:57. After Grand Rapids was unable to clear the zone, David Cullen corralled the puck and fired a shot from the top of the right circle that deflected to the stick of Jiri Novotny – who finally solved MacDonald between the pads for a 1-0 Amerks lead.

The Griffins countered with a short-handed strike to balance the ledger at 1-1 with 4:32 remaining in the second. Moments after Eric Manlow had a potential breakaway poked off of his stick, Kent McDonell jumped on a loose puck at his own blue line. The winger carried through the neutral zone before brandishing a shotgun and firing a blast through Jean-Marc Pelletier. McDonell’s eighth tally of the year snapped a season-long team-scoring drought of 108:31.

MacDonald was sensational in the second, facing a torrential downpour of Rochester shots – including 23 more seconds of 2-man advantage time for the Americans. The Griffins netminder turned away 22 of 23 second period shots, setting the high-water mark for shots faced in a single frame by Grand Rapids this season. He stopped 37 of 40 shots on the night.

The Amerks wrested back the lead to start the third period, almost instantly after their ninth power play of the night ended. As Ryan Oulahen exited the penalty box, Jeff Jillson received a cross-ice pass along the point from right to left and whistled a pill past McDonald to make it 2-1 at 2:42.

A devastating miscue by the Griffins in their own zone sealed their fate late in the third. A clearing attempt by Clay Wilson was intercepted at the blue line by Matt Hendricks, who buried a wide-open slapshot from long range for a 3-1 lead. Rob Globke added an empty-netter to provide the final margin for Rochester.

Grand Rapids saw their season-long losing streak extend to four games with the loss. The Griffins play the third of a five-game road stretch when they travel back across the border to face the Toronto Marlies Saturday night at Ricoh Coliseum. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m.


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