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BROTHERLY LUV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Griffins displayed anything but brotherly love toward their guests from Philadelphia on Friday, as Joey MacDonald’s perfect 23-save performance paced Grand Rapids to a 4-0 shutout of the Phantoms at Van Andel Arena.

MacDonald extended his team record with his 15th career shutout, his first since March 29, 2005, helping improve the Griffins’ league-best home record to 20-3-1-2. Grand Rapids (36-12-1-3), winner of 12 of its last 14 games (12-1-0-1) and 18 of its last 22 contests (18-2-1-1), now boasts the most standings points in the AHL with 76, one more than Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Griffins will try to extend their good fortune on Saturday, when they welcome the Peoria Rivermen for their first-ever visit to West Michigan.

While the Griffins entered the night with a tremendous advantage in goals scored – 204 to 110 – it looked like the Phantoms might get out of the first period unscathed until the Griffins went on the power play late in the frame. During a scramble around the Philly net, Clay Wilson snapped a shot from the hashmarks that sailed over Jamie Storr’s right shoulder at the 19:18 mark, giving Grand Rapids a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.

Donald MacLean, the AHL’s leading goal scorer, made it a 2-0 game 6:29 into the second, taking a pass from Wilson and ripping a shot past Storr from the right faceoff dot. The goal extended MacLean’s point streak to 14 games, tying Jiri Hudler’s run from earlier this season as the second-longest in franchise history, and gave him 35 lamp-lighters on the year, second in team history to only Michel Picard’s 46-goal haul in 1996-97.

Derek Meech pushed the advantage to three with 2:09 remaining in the period, threading a wrist shot through traffic from the top of the left circle.

Rejean Beauchemin replaced Storr between the Phantoms’ pipes to start the third period in an effort to change the visitors’ momentum. But he was unable to stem the tide, as Tomas Kopecky welcomed him with a quick wrister into the left corner from the high slot at 11:44, accounting for the final margin.

The shutout was the first for the Griffins at home this season and just their second overall.


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