ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Grand Rapids Griffins saw their season-high four-game road point streak (2-0-2-0) come to an end on Friday, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Rochester Americans at the Blue Cross Arena.
Despite out shooting the Amerks (33-25-2-0) by a commanding 35-26 count, the Griffins were handed just their first defeat in their last six trips to Rochester.
Grand Rapids (25-32-2-1) will continue a four-game road trip on Saturday when they travel to Cleveland for a 7:30 p.m. tilt with the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena.
After the Griffins were awarded a controversial bench minor for have too many men on the ice, Rochester used the power play opportunity to grab a 1-0 lead in the first period. Michael Duco took a pass from Mike York at the top of the left circle and blasted a shot past Thomas McCollum at 3:26.
Grand Rapids used a power play chance of their own to knot the score at the 6:36 mark. After applying strong offensive zone pressure, Justin Abdelkader gathered the puck on the left side of the goal crease and connected with Mattias Ritola, whose shot from the right hash mark powered through a net-front gathering.
Rochester regained their one-goal lead just 35 seconds into the middle frame. From the right point, Victor Oreskovich’s knuckling shot made its way into the Griffins’ net to give the Amerks a 2-1 lead. Jordan Henry pushed Rochester’s lead to two goals with a power play tally at the 10: 51 mark. York was on the left side of the Griffins’ net when he set up Henry for a quick tap in on the opposite side of the goal.
Grand Rapids cut their deficit in half at 17:22 of the period. John Vigilante picked up Abdelkader’s pass in the neutral zone and broke in on Alexander Salak to beat him with a low shot on the short side of the net.
In the third period, Rochester took a 4-2 lead when Max Gratchev’s shot from the right point beat a screened McCollum at 2:32.
Just past the halfway mark of the period, Grand Rapids again made it a one-goal game. On the right side of the Amerks’ net, Kris Newbury collected Andy Delmore’s pass from the point and buried a sharp-angle shot at the 10:48 mark.
The Griffins pulled McCollum for an extra attacker, but Evgeny Dadonov fired a wrist shot into the empty net from his own zone with 13 seconds remaining.
McCollum turned aside 21 shots for Grand Rapids, while Salak made 32 saves in the Amerks’ victory.
Three Stars: 1. RCH York (2 assists); 2. GR Ritola (1 goal, 1 assist); 3. RCH de Gray (1 assist).
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