Lake Erie Monsters 0 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5
Jan. 20, 2012
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Joey MacDonald made 21 saves for his 20th shutout as a Griffin and saw his teammates explode for four third-period goals, as Grand Rapids earned a 5-0 win over the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
MacDonald denied a penalty shot by Mark Olver late in the second period while the Griffins held a tenuous 1-0 lead, helping him extend his franchise record for shutouts. Four of his last nine blankings as a Griffin have come against teams from Cleveland, including a 3-0 victory over the Monsters on Nov. 2.
The Griffins (16-16-4-3) will look to make it two in a row on Saturday when they host the Rochester Americans at 7 p.m. After the game, they’ll kick off their 10th annual Great Skate at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.
Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith scored the only goal of the opening period during a power play at the 7:28 mark. Garnet Exelby made a fine play to keep the puck in the Monsters’ zone and quickly passed to Smith, who stickhandled through the right circle and put a fake on Lake Erie goaltender Gerald Coleman before sending a shot inside the near post from just below the hashmarks.
Late in the second period, Doug Janik broke his stick while attempting a one-timer at the point, enabling Olver to pick up the puck and race up ice with two Griffins in hot pursuit. Despite encountering little resistance and getting a solid shot off on MacDonald, Olver was awarded a penalty shot, but MacDonald turned it aside with 2:05 left in the frame to preserve Grand Rapids’ one-goal cushion through 40 minutes.
The Griffins scored twice in the first 2:28 of the third period to take control of the contest. During a rare 3-on-1 shorthanded rush into the Lake Erie zone, Landon Ferraro, Smith and Brent Raedeke amazingly had enough time to complete three passes down low before Raedeke finally snuck a sharp-angle shot between Coleman and the right post at 1:44.
Just 44 seconds later, Gustav Nyquist burst down the right side and made an incredible move to discard his defender above the circle before darting to the slot and ripping a shot into the top right corner.
Jamie Johnson was whistled off for both hooking and tripping at the 5:28 mark, giving the Monsters a four-minute power play and ample opportunity to claw back into the game, but the Griffins’ defense rose to the challenge to keep the visitors off the board. Shortly after, the well-rested Johnson put Grand Rapids ahead 4-0 when he beat Coleman with a wrister from the slot at 13:20 for his team-high 15th goal of the season.
Chris Minard finished off a pretty pass from Fabian Brunnstrom with 27 seconds remaining for the final margin, giving him three goals in as many games since returning from a concussion that had prevented him from playing all season. Coleman finished with 34 saves for the Monsters (18-20-2-1), who saw their three-game point streak snapped.
Notes: Nyquist’s 37 points (11-26—37) already tie him for seventh all time among Grand Rapids’ single-season rookie scorers…Defenseman Travis Ehrhardt finished the game with a plus-three rating, making him plus-eight in his three-game return this week from an injury that had sidelined him since Oct. 18.
Three Stars: 1. GR MacDonald (W, 21 saves, SO); 2. GR Smith (power play goal, assist); 3. GR Nyquist (goal, assist)