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GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 at Cleveland Monsters 4 SO

April 9, 2017

CLEVELANDMatthew Ford’s goal with 17.9 seconds remaining in regulation rescued a point for the Grand Rapids Griffins, but the Cleveland Monsters used shootout tallies from Zac Dalpe and Markus Hannikainen to seal a 4-3 decision on Sunday before a crowd of 10,797 at Quicken Loans Arena.
The result, combined with Chicago’s 3-1 win versus Rockford, leaves the Griffins (44-23-1-5) two points behind the Wolves in the Central Division standings with three games remaining. Grand Rapids remains five points above third-place Milwaukee following the Admirals’ 3-2 overtime loss at Iowa.
Despite posting a 11-1-1-0 record over its last 13 games, Cleveland (38-28-4-4) trails Charlotte for fourth position after the latter’s 3-1 victory against Texas earlier in the day. The Monsters and Checkers each carry a 0.568 points percentage, but the Carolina Hurricanes' affiliate has one game in hand.
Colin Campbell opened the scoring shorthanded just 41 seconds into the contest. Dominic Turgeon’s initial effort hit the outside of the right post, but the rebound reached Campbell in close for a shot that bounced off Anton Forsberg’s catching glove and in.
Turgeon gave Grand Rapids a two-goal advantage with 5:53 remaining in the first frame. Evgeny Svechnikov’s centering pass from the right corner deflected off the stick of Dominik Shine in front and straight to Turgeon in the slot for a shot between Forsberg’s blocker-side arm and body.
Alex Broadhurst answered back for Cleveland 30 seconds later when he received Vitaly Abramov’s centering pass below the right circle and placed a shot inside the right post.
The Monsters restored parity when Abramov redirected a centering pass from Jamie Sifers inside the left post for his first professional goal at the 7:16 mark of the middle period.
A game that already featured a pair of fights boiled over with 7:17 left in the second stanza. After Joe Hicketts applied an open-ice hit on Jordan Maletta in the Grand Rapids zone, Maletta broke his stick on a retaliatory cross-check before Hicketts responded with a slash to the back of the left leg. Brett Gallant in turn instigated a fight against Hicketts while Dan Renouf and Oleg Yevenko received game misconducts for their secondary altercation. In total, 66 minutes worth of penalties were handed out.
The Monsters took their first lead of the night on a shorthanded tally of their own with just under five minutes left in the third. Maletta gained possession at his own line and raced behind the Griffins’ defense for a successful breakaway attempt off the catching glove of Jared Coreau and in.
The Griffins pulled Coreau for the extra attacker and later called timeout with 1:07 remaining in regulation. The strategy paid off with 17.9 seconds to play when Kyle Criscuolo’s centering pass reached Ford, who eventually gained control of the puck in the high slot and fired a wrist shot inside the left post for his 12th goal of the campaign.
Grand Rapids started the extra session with Criscuolo, Svechnikov and Hicketts while Cleveland countered with Hannikainen, T.J. Tynan and John Ramage. Aided by a Ford holding minor at the 1:12 mark, the Monsters held a 6-1 advantage in shots but were unable to put anything past Coreau as the game headed to a skills competition. 
Svechnikov opened the shootout for the Griffins, moving slowly from backhand to forehand only to be denied by Forsberg’s catching glove. Dalpe quickly worked his way into the slot and snapped a wrist shot inside the left post. After Ford’s attempt was steered aside by Forsberg’s blocker, Hannikainen moved to his backhand and lifted the puck over a sprawling Coreau to give the Monsters two points. 
Grand Rapids finished 0-for-6 on the power play while Cleveland failed to convert on five opportunities. Forsberg turned away 33 shots to earn his 26th victory of the season as Coreau blocked 28 in defeat.
The Griffins return to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. tilt against the Charlotte Checkers.
Notes: The Griffins finished 6-3-1-2 against the Monsters in the regular season series…Coreau made his 150th professional appearance on Sunday…Of the 36 players to appear in a Detroit Red Wings game this season, 31 (86.1%) have played for the Griffins. Thirty-five (97.2%) have played in the AHL with Henrik Zetterberg being the lone exception…Grand Rapids is 34-4-1-2 (0.866) when scoring the game’s first goal and 31-1-0-1 (0.955) when leading after one period.
Three Stars: 1. CLE Hannikainen (assist); 2. CLE Abramov (goal, assist); 3. CLE Maletta (shorthanded goal)