Griffins Douse Heat, 3-0
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - An unyielding performance by goaltender Tom McCollum helped the Grand Rapids Griffins douse the Abbotsford Heat, 3-0, at Van Andel Arena on Friday, spoiling the returns of two landmark players from Griffins history.
Supported by goals from David McIntyre, Mitch Callahan and Landon Ferraro, McCollum earned his second shutout of the season over his former mentor Joey MacDonald, who is the owner of numerous all-time Griffins goaltending records. Calder Cup champion and Abbotsford defenseman Chad Billins, who was presented with his championship ring before the game, also endured a lashing by his former teammates in his first time back in Grand Rapids since June.
Entering their final game of a six-game home stand tomorrow, the Griffins (27-10-1-2) look to sweep their week at home when they host a rematch against the Heat (25-14-1-1) at 7 p.m.
McIntyre broke open the scoring with a late tally at 18:25 of the first period, when he collected his own rebound between the paint and backhanded the puck over the shoulder of MacDonald.
A slashing call against Max Reinhart at 9:48 of the second period eventually yielded a three-on-two shorthanded opportunity for the Heat, but an outstretched McCollum blocked the puck with the tip of his left skate. Still loose, the puck was covered by a diving Griffins squad to keep Grand Rapids up 1-0.
The Griffins' momentum resurged at 13:03 of the middle frame when Callahan put away the rebound from a tightly-wound Adam Almquist slapshot, advancing the team to a two-goal advantage.
At 11:16 of the third period and all alone in the Heat zone, Ferraro extinguished Abbotsford's fire once and for all when he rifled a slapshot towards MacDonald's net from along the left boards. Missing his mark, the puck instead deflected off of the skate of an Abbotsford defenseman and caught MacDonald unaware, earning the Griffins a 3-0 lead and their final goal of the game.
Despite a late hooking call on McIntyre at 15:09 deep into the third, the Griffins escaped the penalty kill unscathed and ran down the dwindling clock to earn the win, maintaining a two-point lead over the Western Conference.
McCollum turned away all 35 shots he faced en route to capturing his 17th win and eighth career shutout, while MacDonald blocked 29 attempts.
Three Stars: 1. GR McCollum (35 saves, shutout); 2. GR Almquist (two assists); 3. GR McIntyre (game-winning goal)
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American Hockey League Stories from January 17, 2014
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