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ADVANTAGE, AMERKS


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Adam Dennis stopped 33 of 34 shots and helped deny the Grand Rapids Griffins on all nine power play chances Thursday, leading the Rochester Americans to a 3-1 victory at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (5-4-0-0) will attempt to push their perfect road record to 6-0 on Friday when they visit the Blue Cross Arena at 7:35 p.m. to complete the home-and-home series with the Amerks (4-7-1-1).

Following a scoreless opening period, Rochester struck 3:41 into the second frame during a 4-on-4 situation, as Marek Zagrapan beat Adam Berkhoel to the right post for a textbook wraparound goal. It marked the fourth time in as many home games and the sixth time in the last seven contests overall that the Griffins’ opponent scored the game’s first goal.

Minutes later, Berkhoel made a pair of incredible saves on Zagrapan with the Griffins two men down, but the Amerks maintained their pressure and quickly made it a 2-0 game. Berkhoel denied a blast from the right point and another shot from the crease before Zagrapan batted an airborne puck into the top left corner of the cage at the 7:52 mark.

Brett Engelhardt sliced the Griffins’ deficit in half with 10:09 left in the game off a turnover deep in the Rochester zone, taking a quick shot from the left circle that bounced off Dennis on its way into the net.

A rash of penalties whistled by a pair of referees continued to torment Grand Rapids, and the Americans used another 5-on-3 advantage to take a 3-1 lead. At 13:39, Clark MacArthur connected on a one-timer from the right point for the final margin, as the Griffins could not inch closer despite pulling Berkhoel with a little over a minute remaining. Rochester finished the game 2-for-11 with the man advantage.

The Griffins, who’ve started 0-4 at home for the first time in their 12-year history, had not lost four consecutive games in regulation at Van Andel Arena since enduring a team-record seven-game slide from Dec. 11, 2004 to Jan. 15, 2005.

Detroit Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman made an on-ice appearance during the first intermission to introduce the Fifth Third Bank stick drive for the Griffins Youth Foundation. Fans are encouraged to donate new or gently used hockey sticks at all Grand Rapids-area Fifth Third Bank locations between Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 17. The sticks will be used by the hundreds of underserved, underprivileged and at-risk children who participate in the foundation’s programs.

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